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Italy EU presidency will push for 'historic change'

Published on Jun 29, 2014 10:04 AM
Italy's Prime Minister Matteo Renzi talks to the media at the end of an EU Summit held at the EU Council building in Brussels, on June 27, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP 

ROME (AFP) - As Italy prepares to take over the European Union presidency on Tuesday, its energetic young premier Matteo Renzi has called for a fresh start, insisting growth is essential to quelling anti-EU sentiment.

The left-wing prime minister warned this week that Europe was at a crossroads and needed to win back people tired of years of economic decline or stagnation.

"Europe cannot simply be a place of codicils, quibbles, parameters, constraints... a no-man's land of bureaucracies," Mr Renzi said earlier this week ahead of a meeting of EU leaders in the Belgian town of Ypres, among World War I's bloodiest battlefields.

"Thousands of young people did not die so that we could wrangle over parameters," he said, adding that the "boring old aunt" Europe has become "submerged by numbers and without soul", risked missing "a historic chance for change".

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