As Italy ended its six-month presidency of the European Union on Tuesday, Prime Minister Renzi told the European Parliament that the Italian economy was in considerable trouble, the ANSA news agency reported.
"The Italian economy is experiencing a period of terror and worry because of messages not only of austerity, but on terror and fear of the future," he said.
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Renzi, who leads a left-right coalition in government, added that a "derby" was currently being played out in Italy between those trying to turn the country around with reforms and those who bet that the reforms will fail. Political deadlock in Italy has been a bugbear of reform-minded politicians like Renzi and others before him.
Renzi was accused of attempting to "resuscitate" the career of disgraced politician and former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi by drafting tax reforms that could have seen Berlusconi's ban from public office revoked. Renzi needs the support of Berlusconi-led party Forza Italia in order to see through electoral reform.
The episode has not done Renzi's political standing much good, according to one Italian political analyst.
"Italy's recent political history has been plagued by failed attempts to keep bi-partisan governments united against the backdrop of a growing "anti-politics" mood," Franceso Galietti, head of the Rome-based Policy Sonar consultancy, said in a note this week.
"Renzi's cabinet has engaged in creative ambiguity and may now have stepped over the line into outright dissimulation; the economy remains in shambles; and the tides of anti-politics are not reversing. As a result, Renzi is now striving to consolidate his own grip on power before his popularity sinks too much and new political challengers emerge," Galietti said.