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Come il New York Times vede Renzi, quello di “Io sono il leader di una grande Nazione…E ho le mie idee”

Renzi cerca un posto al tavolo dei grandi. Il New York Times spiega perché:
“Assumere una posizione più rigida con Bruxelles lo aiuta a respingere le sfide politiche populiste interne…”.
L’Italia è un junior partner, spesso ha offerto spaccati comici. Ritratto con sottolineature e sfottò come quando Renzi dice: “Sono il leader di una grande Nazione…E ho le mie idee”…
L’articolo è del capodesk per l’Europa Jim Yardley. Il Nyt non è conservatore ma liberal, sta dalla parte di Obama. Le critiche a Renzi

Matteo Renzi, Italian Premier, Pushes for a Place at Europe’s Power Table

OME — Italy has given Europe many things, but rarely leadership.
Among member states of the European Union, Italy is important but not always influential, partly because of the decades-old dysfunction of its politics. France and Germany traditionally set the European agenda, while Italy is often a junior partner, if sometimes a comic sideshow.
But with the European Union fragmenting politically and hit by crises,Prime Minister Matteo Renzi is arguing that Italy’s voice must now be heard and be taken seriously. He has taken a confrontational approach, partly out of frustration, which has brought new tensions in the bloc, even as all sides have sought to tamp down the conflicts in recent days.

Mr. Renzi’s sudden assertiveness has left him open to charges of being an obstructionist and of grandstanding to score political points at home. He has criticized Brussels and Berlin — including a public feud with the president of the European Commission. He has elbowed his way into European Union policy matters such as Russian sanctions, a gas pipeline in Germany and the deal with Turkey to slow down the influx of refugees.
“I’m the leader of a great country,” Mr. Renzi said during an interview last week. “I have my ideas.”
No doubt he will share them with Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany when the two leaders sit down for lunch in Berlin on Friday. Ms. Merkel is Europe’s most powerful leader but is facing the most serious political crisis of her career from the refugee influx.
The European Union’s flailing response is now threatening an end to the bloc’s system of open borders and has provided a ripe target for critics who regard European institutions as ineffective and intrusive.
Mr. Renzi, too, argues that European Union institutions are too bureaucratic and too dominated by a clique of elites and favored nations, especially Germany. Yet he does not want to destroy European institutions.
Instead, he is demanding that Italy be given a seat at the power table with Ms. Merkel and President François Hollande of France.
“If we are looking for a European solution to the refugee problem, then it is not right that Angela first speaks to Hollande and then calls European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, and I only find out about it in the press later,” Mr. Renzi told the German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung on Thursday, in advance of his visit to Berlin.
In his office last week, Mr. Renzi said Europe lacked a larger, positive vision on fighting unemployment and spurring growth and also needed a foreign policy strategy in the Middle East and Africa to curb migration. He said bureaucrats in Brussels must not only focus on fighting with national governments over budget flexibility or achieving fractional deficit targets.
“This is not Europe,” he said. “This is a nightmare.”
Nearing his two-year anniversary as prime minister, Mr. Renzi said Italian credibility had suffered from past political dysfunction. But he pressed his case that, under his leadership, Italy had now earned the right to be taken seriously, as his government has passed a succession of political, labor, public administration and economic reforms.
He said his labor reforms had contributed to an increase of more than 584,000 permanent jobs last year, and also pointed out that Apple and Cisco had recently announced new investment projects in Italy.
“After two years of listening, now I speak,” said Mr. Renzi, adding that Italy is too often portrayed as a problem child of Europe, dependent on largess from Brussels when, in fact, it contributes more to European Union coffers than it receives in return. “Italy is not the problem, as in the past.”
Mr. Renzi’s frustrations steadily mounted last year, as he clashed with different European Union officials, and then confronted Germany during a two-day summit meeting of European leaders in Brussels.
This month, Mr. Renzi publicly sparred with Mr. Juncker, who warned the Italian leader to stop badmouthing the European Commission “at each street corner.” Mr. Renzi responded by saying Italy had regained a leadership role and others must “deal with it.”
Mr. Renzi forced a delay before European leaders extended sanctions against Russia — a move seen as muscle flexing, since Italy supports the sanctions. He also has raised questions about a proposed new Russian gas pipeline into Germany, even though a Russian pipeline into southern Europe was canceled last year. And he has called back Italy’s ambassador to the European Union, replacing him with a politician, rather than a diplomat — signaling a tougher stance.
Most pointedly, Mr. Renzi has held up a 3 billion euro payment to Turkey by the European Union to help Turkey curb the flow of refugees into Europe. He has questioned how the money will be spent, where it will come from and how it will affect national budgets.
The money for Turkey is likely to be a major topic of discussion on Friday with Ms. Merkel, who strongly supports the deal and whose own political prospects depend on slowing the numbers of incoming refugees.
In Rome, many analysts and politicians say Mr. Renzi’s confrontational tactics reflect genuine Italian frustrations with Brussels. For years, Italy sought financial help on migration but got little from European Union officials.
“To a certain point, he is right,” said Gian Luigi Gigli, a lawmaker in Italy’s lower house. “We were considered the kids at school who were not doing our homework. In a way, we have done our homework.”
But many analysts also point out that Mr. Renzi is under political pressure at home, as the economy, while improving, is still sluggish and his reforms have not had enough time to bring major changes to people.
Taking a tougher stance with Brussels helps him fend off populist political challenges. And other analysts argue that Mr. Renzi is trying to gain leverage as he negotiates with Brussels over more flexibility for Italy’s national budget.
Mr. Gigli added that Mr. Renzi was playing a dangerous game and that Italy could only push so far. He said economic indicators were improving in Italy but the country’s staggering public debt remained a critical problem. This week, Italian bank stocks plummeted, as investors were unimpressed with the government’s new agreement with Brussels on addressing nonperforming bank loans.
“How far can we go with this confrontation?” he asked. “There is the risk that we really can be beaten.”
One question is whether other European leaders will follow Mr. Renzi’s direction, especially in southern countries where left-wing governments are gaining.
Fredrik Erixon, an analyst in Brussels, said Mr. Renzi could also benefit from growing resentment toward Germany, as others also complain that Berlin is imposing its will on European Union institutions more directly than in the past.
“He is basically doing what the German government and other governments would be up to — trying to fight for their national interests,” said Mr. Erixon, director of the European Center for International Political Economy, a research institute. “And he is doing it in a way that is not kowtowing to Berlin.”
Gaia Pianigiani contributed reporting.


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