Italy’s new Prime Minister, Enrico Letta has stopped off in Brussels for the final leg of his European tour.
On a mission to preach growth over austerity, he met with European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, who is a recent convert.
Over cappuccinos and croissants they discussed the issues facing the eurozone’s third largest economy.
“Every euro spent on debt is a euro not invested in jobs, not invested in youth, not invested in entrepreneurs or education or research.This is why we need to keep healthy public finances, we need to go for structural reforms and we need to have measures to foster growth, mainly to try to tackle the urgent and dramatic issue of the unemployment, specifically youth unemployment,” said the Commission President. Letta has asked for the growing ‘nightmare’ of youth unemployment to top the agenda at the June EU summit.
Barroso noted that both leaders, “share an ambitious view on Europe’s future, a federal future.” In a speech before parliament ahead of a crucial confidence vote former MEP Letta spoke of closer political integration being crucial to the functioning of the eurozone.
During his European travels, the Italian premier has found a friend in socialist French President François Hollande. They hope that together they can change the EU’s direction on austerity until now prescribed by German leader Angela Merkel.