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EU growing, getting more important - Draghi

Defend purchasing power, Russian gas down from 40% to 25%

24 June, 18:50
(ANSA) - ROME, JUN 24 - Premier Mario Draghi told a press conference after the European Council in Brussels Friday that "the EU is growing, is it becoming increasingly important, it is becoming that institution to which all the EU countries look to as an institution capable of giving them stability and security". He went on, after the Council OK'd candidate status for Ukraine and Moldova: "we decided that the process of enlargement, so demanding and bureaucratic, will remain demanding but will be much less bureaucratic. The EU will take on a less severe dimension". Draghi also said that "in the euro area, above all due to energy prices and inflation, the forecasts are for a slowdown in all countries. We are committed to protecting and bolstering the Italians' purchasing power". He went on: "we spoke about energy, of what to do about such high prices. Italy, for stocks is doing very well and the reliance on Russian gas, which was 40% last year, today stands at 25%: the measures which we took are starting to produce results. "We must act immediately on energy prices because we are moving from an inflation which depended substantially on energy to one which depends on other things. These hikes are spreading and are becoming increases for other goods. "On energy prices, countries are very hesitant to act, I asked for an extraordinary summit on energy in July but I was told that we do not yet have a study on which to discuss. "Now, in the final resolution the Council urges the Commission to produce this study by September, to then discuss is at the Council in October. "There is great awareness with respect to the seriousness of the situation. There has been a lot of talk about coordination and solidarity, which there certainly must be, and there must also be a response to control the price of gas. "The objection that is made to the price cap is fear that Russia will cut supplies in response, but we are already at 50% of flows in Germany. "Putin is getting the same figures and the EU has huge difficulties". Draghi answered "No" when asked if he was considering a reshuffle following Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio's split from the 5-Star Movement (M5S) to form his own new party, Together for the Future (IpF). Asked if he thought his mandate was now stronger or weaker, the premier replied: "I feel I have the same mandate". (ANSA).

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