In Athens, Boldrini launches cooperation for a new Europe

House speaker proposes EU-Med parliamentary conference in Rome

08 November, 10:58

    (by Furio Morroni) (ANSAmed) - ATHENS, NOVEMBER 8 - In Greece on a two-day mission, Italian Lower House Speaker Laura Boldrini last night proposed holding a conference of European and southern Mediterranean MPs in Rome next spring.

    Greece and Italy have ''a common interest in relaunching a new idea of Europe, one based on growth, creating jobs for youth, welfare, and rights'', Boldrini told reporters at a news briefing.

    She spoke after meeting with Greek Premier Antonis Samaras, Hellenic Parliament Speaker Evangelos Meimarakis, and the nation's president, Karolos Papoulias.

    During her trip Boldrini will also meet with immigrants' and children's rights NGOs ahead of Greece and Italy's duty EU presidencies in 2014.

    ''Italy and Greece have many points in common: both countries have wide-coalition governments, both face a difficult economic crisis and both are border nations'', Boldrini said. ''On the eve of both our EU presidencies, I thought it important to understand the points of convergence on which we can boost parliamentary cooperation''.

    Parliaments ''are elected by citizens and have the duty to reinforce a European vision that can be other and more than fiscal rigor, austerity and balanced budgets'', Boldrini went on. ''They also have a duty to put forward a Europe that places the social aspect at the top of the agenda''.

    Now is the time to combat growing public disenchantment with the EU, which is ''perceived as an evil stepmother, capable only of inflicting punitive measures''.

    This has led to ''dangerous waves of populism'' that are making inroads in many European countries ''via parties and elements that blow on the fires of intolerance, proposing untenable nationalistic and autarchic measures'', Boldrini warned.

    Accompanied by Italian Ambassador Claudio Glaentzer, the House speaker also visited the Doctors of the World headquarters in Athens, where NGO workers updated her on the critical situation of health care in a country now its fifth year of recession.

    Boldrini's mission continues with meetings with Deputy Premier and Foreign Minister Evanghelos Venizelos, with the leader of the main opposition party, the radical leftist Syriza coalition, and with Syriza deputy chief Yannis Dragasakis, who is also the deputy speaker of Parliament.

    Before returning to Rome, Boldrini is due to visit Children's Smile, You Smile and Children's House NGOs.


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