Italian PM vows to push for United States of Europe during presidency

  
Matteo Renzi speaking at the State of the Union conference. Florence, 9 May. [EurActiv]

In an unprecedented speech outlining his vision for Europe, Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi called for courageous leaders to work towards a United States of Europe.

"For my children’s future I dream, think and work for the United States of Europe,” Renzi said, speaking at the State of the Union in Florence, launching an appeal to convince European leaders to show "not in the cold language of technocracy, that a stronger and more cohesive Europe is the only solution to the solve the problems of our time.”

In outlining his vision, Renzi also mapped out the priorities for the Italian presidency of the EU, starting on the 1st of July.

Beginning with the European elections, which "for the first time" are set not as "a summation of election campaigns, but something broader", he warned against the specter of anti-European populism. All mainstream political forces should not be scared to talk out loud, and point to the different line-ups that those populist parties have in terms of history and culture, and the way they are united by the desire to destroy what we have built. “Populism will thrive on abstentionism,” Renzi said.

The only effective response, according to the prime minister, is to offer "an idea of ​​Europe that corresponds to an attractive adventure, rather than just a financial or economic exercise," showing that the EU "is not only a common past but a common destiny, to which it is impossible to escape."

Renzi has indicated his priorities for the Italian presidency: growth and employment as the founding values ​​of Europe, citizenship rights and openness to the world, not only in terms of trade and economic relations, but also in terms of values.

“We cannot call ourselves Europeans if, when we witness the pain of the world, we turn the other way," he said.

If it is true that the last period of European integration was dominated by the financial and economic crisis and the need to address these challenges, it is also true that some of the European rules must be changed.

And the change that Renzi has in mind is radical: "We need a light Europe, whereby the rules are simple and better shared.”

At the end of his speech, Renzi highlighted immigration as a top priority: "The economy of trade cannot close in fences and cause us to lose sight of the fundamental value of openness in the world, which calls for a redefinition of the concept of the borders, especially those in the Mediterranean.

"Is the Mediterranean an Italian or European border?” asked the prime minister. He said he agrees with the European Commissioner for Home Affairs, Cecilia Malmstroem, for whom asylum rights should be under European law and not just a national competence.

“No day in our presidency will pass without us showing the contrast between a Europe that affirms its values, and a Europe that could not practise them, when it denies the possibility to our brothers and sisters to be welcomed in all the EU," said Renzi.

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Comments

an european's picture

And Matteo Renzi has completely right right !!

It's not for nothing that the American adopt the European Romanian Empire Slogan

" El Pluribus Unum"

The U.S.A. (European ancestors) continues to dominate the world in every step and flourishing it's economy and some chef's in Europe are hesitating do the right way l
It's now to us Europeans to get younger and to re-rise that damn moron economy we are facing more than 6 years ! I Here again i would mention the British Tony Blair who said that Europe needs a President !
I am for a United Europe and always has been for a strong one!

El Pluribus Unum

evad666's picture

Van Rompuy has dismissed this initiative in the past, saying that politicizing European elections in this way would “organise the disappointment in advance”. He feels the whole effort is doomed to fail unless the Commission was given more powers over the member states: “If this is not going hand in hand with large powers for the Commission, then forget it.”
So obviously some want absolute power which we know from history corrupts absolutely

evad666's picture

Van Rompuy has dismissed this initiative in the past, saying that politicizing European elections in this way would “organise the disappointment in advance”. He feels the whole effort is doomed to fail unless the Commission was given more powers over the member states: “If this is not going hand in hand with large powers for the Commission, then forget it.”
So obviously some want absolute power which we know from history corrupts absolutely

Charles_m's picture

Come 1st January 2015 and the Italian Presidency is done, poor old Renzi will need counselling to recover from his dream going tits up.

Gerry's picture

We can all dream and dream, but for Europe to become a real, united country, it will need to have a real government, a real leader and a comprehensive, concrete set of laws. The Commission/ Council arrangement is just a leftover of the old days of the Coal and Steel Community, but hardly the instrument needed to run a republic. The parliament is composed of a bunch of over promoted civil servants who are basically unknown to the people they represent and spend their time just mindlessly agreeing with each other. Additionally, there is no clear structure of opposition in this government. For a republic of United States of Europe to emerge, all the existing treaties would need to be torn up and the whole lot build up again from the ground up. Anything else would just be a compromise that would lead to more problems further down the line. Let's face it, it ain't gonna happen. To start with we ll need a strong leader with a clear vision, and unless Renzi wants to start a new Roman empire, we simply haven't got one.

A Londoner's picture

One hindrance to the development of a US of Europe has been the absence of a common language. Now, it is clear that English has emerged as that common language and seems to be helping the development of a shared sense of European identity, at least amongst the young and educated (except of course among the English themselves).

It is interesting, therefore, to note the reaction of the French to this issue. In the finals of the Eurovision song contest something like 45 national hosts presented their countries marks. Only one country, France, failed to give the results in English. The debate in Maastrict was conducted in English and during the subsequent discussion a French journalist made a major issue about the language. However beneficial a common language might be, the French oppose it.

As a Brit who feels like an outsider I find this fascinating. The attachment to the nation state seems stronger in France than in the UK. They talk Europe but think France. Continental euro-federalists have tended to view the UK as the hindrance to the US of E but I suspect that the French will be your real problem.

Charles_m's picture

Read up on the career of the supreme petulant ingrate, Charles de Gaulle, to get an insight into the French attitude to all thing non French, in particular anything remotely Anglo-Saxon.

an european's picture

By : Charles_m – Posted on : Sat, 10/05/2014 - 17:30

Nothing is impossible if things of economic goes to be more important.
i think they signed the reunification already after the WW2!
If we aren't not going to an federal & democracy way then perhaps after next war again!

Europe needs a kind of United States of Europe
Winston Churchill

Surely we don't need Britain for it !

Canada is the Best exampleone!

an european's picture

@ Gerry

If we ALL dreamed we had long ago we didn't face such economic problems and we would own our United States of Europe long ago!

The main problem is (was) the COUNCIL !!!!

No one of them didn't act like Hamilton A. !

One man with dignity has to take the first step then others will follow him and THIS is likely to be possible like never before!

funkinwolf's picture

The EU Political parties need to select their commission President candidates using an open primary.
The Commission President should pick MEP's from his/her wInnIng EU party to be Commissioners.
The 28 Council of Ministers should be elected by their own citizens in a national direct election.
The EU Council should act with QMV in all areas, losing the right to veto.

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