Unveiling his 1,000-day reform agenda, dubbed “step by step” (“passo dopo passo”), Renzi said it’s time Italians change their view of Germany.
“We must stop talking badly of Germany, Germany’s work is a model, not an enemy,” he was quoted in Corriere as saying.
Berlin has increasingly been blamed for Italy’s economic turmoil, with the political right targeting Chancellor Angela Merkel for backing austerity in the eurozone.
Renzi’s statement came the same day Il Giornale – a staunch supporter of opposition leader Silvio Berlusconi – published its latest anti-Germany front page: “Merkel, the anti-Italian.”
The Italian premier said the focus instead should be on creating a competitive country at home. “At the end of 1,000 days, the right to work will be totally transformed and Italy will be a simple country in which to invest,” he said.
Renzi also reaffirmed his commitment to keep the government deficit below the limit of three percent, “using the flexibility that the EU allows.”
Italy would also be first in line to make the most of a €300 billion investment programme called for by Jean-Claude Juncker, elected the European Commission’s new president in July.
“We’re ready to spend the quickest…it’s fundamental that there are serious projects,” said Renzi, following criticism that Italy has either been too slow or has misused funds in the past.
The prime minister also dismissed the suggestion that he was guilty of naive enthusiasm: “Perhaps they say that we’re a bit too ambitious or arrogant, but we really will change the country.”