MATTEO Renzi has issued the European Union with an ultimatum over the migrant crisis.
: Matteo Renzi has warned if the EU does not deal with immigration he will
Mr Renzi laid into European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker as he stepped up his attack on the crumbling bloc after last week’s failed Bratislava summit.
The prime minister said at the end of Friday’s summit he was dissatisfied with its closing statement, after he was excluded from a joint news conference by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande.
He blasted the lack of commitments on the economy and immigration in the summit’s conclusions, which he himself signed.
“At Bratislava many words were said, but we have not been able to say anything clear about Africa.
“Juncker says many beautiful things, but we do not see the facts. It is a European problem.
“Italy will do it alone, we can, but this is a EU problem.
“For us, relations with Africa are a priority as we tried to say in Bratislava.”
Mr Renzi says he hopes to come up with concrete proposals for the future of the bloc over the next six months as he slammed the EU’s handling of the financial crisis.
He said: “I’ve spoken clearly, if you don’t, summits become processions or day trips.
“Since I represent Italy, one of the countries that donate more money to the EU, I have the duty, not the right, but the duty, to defend the national interest.
“On economic policy we must recognise that Obama and the US have done well and that the EU took the wrong direction.
“Today our duty is to support young people, as well as public and private investment and not only focus on austerity.
“A social Europe beyond a financial Europe. Europe must have a strategy, not just a set of rules that everyone interprets differently, from taxes to the stability pact.”
He said: ”If we want to pass the afternoon writing documents without any soul or any horizon they can do it on their own.
“I don’t know what Merkel is referring to when she talks about the ‘spirit of Bratislava’.
Mr Renzi has promised to resign if he loses the autumn referendum and is preparing a 2017 budget which he says will cut taxes despite a slowing economy and record high public debt.
Continuing his attack, he said: “At Bratislava we had a nice cruise on the Danube, but I hoped for answers to the crisis caused by Brexit, not just to go on a boat trip.”
He was similarly belligerent about the budget to be presented next month, saying there would be “no negotiation” with Brussels, and money he planned to spend on tackling immigration and making Italy safer from earthquakes would be excluded from EU rules on deficit limits.
He said: “I’m not going to stay silent for the sake of a quiet life… if someone wants to keep Italy quiet they have picked the wrong place, the wrong method and the wrong subject.”
The other EU leader to most vocally criticise the results of the Bratislava summit was Hungarian leader Viktor Orban, who faces his own domestic referendum next month, on the EU’s plan to relocate refugees throughout the bloc.