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VIDEO: Renzi jokes about his English skills

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VIDEO: Renzi jokes about his English skills
Renzi was speaking after a meeting with Nato secretary general Jens Stoltenberg about the Ukraine crisis. Screengrab: Vista Agenzia Televisiva Nazionale
10:28 CET+01:00
Italy's prime minister Matteo Renzi joked about his English skills on Thursday after failing to respond to a question in English during a press conference. It's not the first time the Italian leader has struggled with the language.

Renzi was speaking after a meeting with Nato secretary general Jens Stoltenberg about the Ukraine crisis. Asked in English about his impression on the leadership of Stoltenberg since he took over as Nato chief and about the most pressing issues Nato faces today, the prime minister appeared to be lost for words.

“You know for us the… for us…” he begins, before giving up entirely after catching the eye of his spokesman Filippo Sensi.

“Ok… I… my English is absolutely incredible and beautiful but the real reason is the terror of my spokesman is the answer will be in English. We will be destroyed.

“So Filippo I will speak in Italian,” he says, turning again to Sensi. “Are you happy?”

During the press conference, Stoltenberg warned that any attempt to expand territory held by separatists in Ukraine would be "unacceptable" and told Russia to withdraw 1,000 items of military equipment from Ukraine's territory.

READ MORE: Nato chief warns Russia after Italy meet

This isn’t the first time the Italian leader has struggled with English language. Last July Renzi was mocked on social media for his English-language monologue about the Berlin Wall at the Digital Venice conference.

Unfortunately, much of the rest was lost in translation, with a smattering of “umms” coupled with Renzi’s famous furrowed brow.

Shortly after the session paused for lunch - a point happily announced by Renzi in English - a video appeared on YouTube offering a phonetic translation of the prime minister’s prose.

“Nau iz deh taihmh tu tu tu tu tu tu tu tu tu eat-t-t (?) de lanceh, anderfor e italiahn politiscian z abshlutelih cusciahl,” for example, was offered in place of Renzi’s intended: “Now it’s time for lunch, which is absolutely crucial for Italian politicians!”

In a video titled Shish is the Word, the prime minister’s incomprehensible words were cut into a catchy jingle. The creation comes complete with scenes from the film Grease and TV series Family Guy, juxtaposed against Renzi’s puzzled face.

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