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Italian PM: EU Bratislava Summit Is a Wasted Opportunity | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Italy’s Prime Minister Matteo Renzi addresses a news conference at the end of a European Union leaders summit in Bratislava, Slovakia, September 16, 2016. REUTERS/Radovan Stoklasa

Rome – European Union’s Summit in Bratislava didn’t succeed in preparing the union for its post Brexit times. Rather, the summit further deepened the differences between the members.

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi stressed that the summit on Friday was a “wasted opportunity” and expressed his disappointment of the officials, especially the French and German.

During an interview with Corriere della Sera newspaper, Renzi said he refused to join a news conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande because he would rather not attend a conference having nothing to be said.

“I cannot hold a press conference with Merkel and Hollande if I don’t agree with their positions on migration and the economy,” he said.

Commenting on the German Chancellor and French President, Renzi said: “If we want to pass the afternoon writing documents without any soul or any horizon they can do it on their own.”

“I don’t know what Merkel is referring to when she talks about the ‘spirit of Bratislava’,” he said. “If things go on like this, instead of the spirit of Bratislava we’ll be talking about the ghost of Europe.”

Renzi said he was dissatisfied with the closing statement of the summit and he criticized the lack of commitments on the economy and migration issues.

The PM was particularly unhappy with the fact that nothing has been achieved regarding migration; he even mocked the EU for building a new headquarters that would cost billions of dollars in Brussels.

He suggested placing the ship recovered by Italian navy in front of the headquarters as a reminder of the migration scandal.

The ship Renzi referred to is the one that sank in April 2015 killing 700 migrants after it sailed from Libya towards Italy for asylum. The ship is now placed in the Sicilian port of Augusta.

Both the French and German Foreign ministers called for continuous EU support for the countries receiving migrants.

During the meeting of the leaders, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, and Czech Republic refused any mechanism that could force them to receive migrants, while Greece and Italy called for unified efforts in the migration crisis.