The Italian Prime Minister has been addressing parliament ahead of Italy’s EU presidency next month.
Matteo Renzi called for a change of course in Europe, saying that a common currency and austerity policies were not enough in the face of rising unemployment and euroscepticism.
The 39-year-old, who came to power in February, said that when Italy takes over the presidency next month he would outline a new programme for the next three years.
“In the next 1000 days the Italian government can defy the European Parliament, in a positive and a proactive way, in order to improve the country’s conditions. In order to allow Italy not to have an agenda dictated from elsewhere. So we could say that we are improving reforms not because others asked for them but just because we are aware that we need them,” he said.
Renzi added that Europe needs to be united on immigration. Italy has previously asked for more support in dealing with boat refugees and large numbers of migrants arriving from Africa.
He also said that Europe’s economic policies had failed to produce growth and so a change was needed. Italy has seen little economic growth for more than a decade and has a youth unemployment rate of more than 40 percent.