He said that unless tactics were changed, the EU risks being “at the bottom in a world that is changing fast”.
The premier was also quoted in La Repubblica as saying that Italy must also change in order to stay competitive at a global level.
“Us Italians know that our challenge is not here, but at home,” he said.
“We are heading in the right direction, but we must do more.”
But his government’s greatest challenge is restoring public confidence in Italy’s battered economy, he added, and if this is achieved then Italy “has a great future ahead”.
He also praised the work achieved during Italy’s six-month EU presidency but needless to say it drew mockery from his opponents.
Beppe Grillo, the leader of the Five Star Movement, said Italy had achieved “nothing” in dealing with huge public debt at home.
“The only improvement that there was during this period, was that life expectancy has been shortened,” he was quoted by Ansa as saying.
Meanwhile, the Northern League’s Matteo Salvini said Italy’s presidency was a “wasted opportunity”.