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Renzi Tries Macron Approach

Renzi Tries Macron ApproachRenzi Tries Macron Approach

Matteo Renzi toned down the EU-critical rhetoric of his final months as Italian prime minister during his visit to Brussels on Friday to drum up support for his bid to be restored as head of the Democratic Party (PD) in its primaries this weekend. With aides suggesting on social media that French presidential hopeful Emmanuel Macron’s pro-EU stance, which helped him beat Euroskeptic Marine Le Pen in the election’s first round, could be a boost for Renzi, he talked about “Angela, Francois and I” when referring to German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande, Politico reported.

Renzi even stood in front of a display showing the EU flag and felt the need to explain why, in the runup to his failed constitutional referendum that cost him the prime ministership last December, he had removed the EU flag from behind his desk.

“It wasn’t anger, it was a calculated gesture,” Renzi told PD followers at a hotel near the European Parliament, adding that it was in response to the European Commission demanding Italian action on its budget deficit when it had been hit by an earthquake. The Italian and international media have speculated about the similarities between Renzi and Macron, with Renzi’s slogan for the PD primary this Sunday—In Cammino (“On the Way”)—almost a direct translation of the name of Macron’s centrist political movement, En Marche.

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