Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi’s speech to the European Parliament in Strasbourg on 2 July, on the occasion of the beginning of the Italian presidency of the European Union, received “applause and controversy” and provoked a “confrontation with the Germans in regards to flexibility”, notes La Repubblica. Renzi insisted on “two fundamental points”, observes the daily: the necessity to renew growth and to recuperate a common European cultural identity.

Particularly critical of Renzi’s intervention was the German Manfred Weber, head of the conservative European People’s Party parliamentary group, who retorted that “debts do not create the future; they destroy it. We must continue along the path of budgetary rigour.”