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Italian PM pitches for a united Europe, says sense of despair spreading

twitter-logoPTI | January 23, 2019 | Updated 23:23 IST

By Barun Jha Davos, Jan 23 (PTI) Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte on Wednesday called for a united Europe saying a sense of despair is spreading where even middle class is facing poverty and everyone fears tomorrow to be worse than today. In a special address here at the WEF Annual Meeting, he said Italian people are questioning the validity and credibility of the European project without regarding its historical merits. "Our experience might be an indication of what Europe will look like tomorrow," he said. "A sense of despair is spreading. Even the middle class is facing poverty. Everyone feels that tomorrow will be worse than today," he added. Conte became the Prime Minister of Italy in June 2018, after two populist parties formed a coalition government. Prior to that, the 53-year old law professor was little known in politics. Italy is the euro zone's third largest economy but there are concerns about stagnant economic growth and stubbornly high youth unemployment. Conte proposed some urgent interventions to "heal our severe social wounds", including citizen income and a flexible retirement age. He said a much bigger intervention is needed to get rid of inequality and injustice, and for that, there needs to be a major rewriting of the rules to give the power back to the people. "We are radical... because we want to bring the power back to the people," he said. Conte said Italy did not want to walk this path of change alone and Europeans would be much stronger in upholding the original dream of Europe, if they are united. PTI BJ RAM RAM

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