Italy, EU still suffering from austerity says Renzi

'Italy welcomes shift from austerity to investment' says premier

(ANSA) - Rome, October 22 - Italy and the EU are still suffering from austerity policies, Premier Matteo Renzi told the Lower House on Wednesday ahead of an EU summit in Brussels Thursday and Friday.
    We "are still suffering the consequences of a political line that in the last few years has privileged rigour and austerity over growth," Renzi said.
    The changing of the guard at the European Commission, whose new members were approved by the European Parliament earlier today and who take office on November 1, may usher in a shift in policies from austerity to growth, he added.
    "Beginning next week in Brussels, policies may change...(towards the creation of) a non-bureaucratic Europe with Italy holding its head high," he said. He said Italy is glad the EU has, in Rome's eyes, shifted its focus from austerity to investments. "We are satisfied...that the tools for growth Italy proposed will be debated and are included in the final (European Council) document," Renzi told MPs. Thursday's European Union summit will be that of "the already and the not-yet", Renzi told the Lower House as he outlined his program for this week's meetings of European leaders with the outgoing as well as the incoming EC. "Tomorrow's meeting will focus on...economics, international affairs, climate and energy, but we'll be doing so with individuals who will see their task end in a few weeks," the premier said.
    In meetings later this week with other European Union leaders, Italy can be confident it has met its fiscal commitments and has made credible efforts towards reform. Italy has chafed at EU limits on deficit-to-GDP ratios but has presented a budget with a ratio of less than 3%, he said.
    He also played down the importance of a letter that the EC is set to send his government, asking for clarification on its 2015 budget plan. "Verification is natural once you send your budget in," Renzi told the Lower House. "It doesn't mean we flunked".
    The European Union is not a wicked stepmother, the premier went on.
    "We must leave that philosophy behind...because it would spark suspicion and we would always be looking for potential risk and danger," Renzi said.


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