Prime Minister Matteo Renzi on Growth and Jobs in Italy

Growth and Jobs: Common Challenges for Europe and the United States

Matteo Renzi

Prime Minister, Italian Republic

Ruth Porat

Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President, Morgan Stanley; Member, Board of Directors, Council on Foreign Relations


Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi joins CFR Board Member Ruth Porat to discuss Italy's economic challenges. With a stagnant economy, and high government debt and unemployment, Renzi calls for a shift in mentality across the board in Italy—changing labor market laws to reduce bureaucratic hurdles for entrepreneurs, speeding up the processes for foreign investment, reducing the power and number of parliamentary politicians, and further implementing anti-corruption laws.

This meeting is cosponsored with the Council for the United States and Italy, and the Institute of International Finance.

Please be advised that due to technical difficulties, there is a gap in the video at 36:52; the full audio and transcript are available below.


PORAT: Good afternoon. My name is Ruth Porat, and I'm a member of the board of the Council and am delighted to welcome you here today to our meeting with Prime Minister Matteo Renzi. I'd also like to welcome the CFR members around the nation and around the world participating in this meeting through the livestream.

Prime Minister Renzi, as I think we all know, swept into office this year with a clear mandate for change. As the youngest prime minister in Italy's history, he's inspired many with his commitment to drive significant structural change. As he once said, we want to restart Italy. We want Italy, which has an extraordinary, dizzying, astonishing past, to have a future, also. Or in darker terms, he said he wants to ensure that Italy—and I quote him here—exits the swamp by aggressively attacking structural elements that hinder growth and job creation, earning him the name "Il Rottamatore," "the Scrapper," as in scrapping the old.

His audacious agenda stands everything from shrinking an oversized, splintered parliament to streamlining decision-making to reforming everything from labor rules and the judiciary system to education. The prime minister represents youth, ambition and energy in Italian politics like no one has in decades, and not just because he is thirty-nine years old. And, sir, you barely missed the age cutoff for the Term Program for youth which would get you a discount on your membership.


His leadership team certainly reflects his commitment to changing the status quo, with very admirably half of them women and with an average age for the team of 48. He keeps in touch with his constituents via Twitter and has 1.5 million followers. But he is obviously inheriting a decades-long problem that is challenging to reverse, and that is the topic for today.

The Italian economy is stagnating and is likely to stay in recession for the third year in a row, with growth not expected until 2015, and less than 1 percent at that. Government debt is expected to hit around 136 percent of GDP in 2014, second only to Greece, and unemployment is at a painful 13 percent, and 43 percent among youth.

The naysayers are beginning to say that the prime minister's government is not moving quickly enough, but he has been very clear about the set of changes that is needed and has demonstrated a willingness to challenge convention, while building the consensus needed for change, consistent with his view that the world should be viewed in terms of new and old, rather than left and right.

So we look forward to our conversation. We look forward to your opening comments. And then we'll have some time for a conversation and open it up to everyone here. Thank you very much for joining us.


RENZI: I'm really honored to be here, and thank you so much for your kind expressions. Consensus for change, absolutely correct. This is a message I think I must copy, this statement for my next speech in Italy, because the risk is consensus for consensus, consensus for stay exactly in the same condition of the past. This is the most incredible risk for my country.

My country is an incredible country. We love Italy. I think you love Italy. Everybody love Italy. It's impossible...



Yes, but—this is the asset, this is the risk for my country, because I don't know if we love Italy for the past, for the present, or for the future. Surely, for the past, the past is amazing, gorgeous, art, culture, masterpieces, Roman empire and Renaissance. For me, I was mayor of Florence; Renaissance is a little better than empire of Rome but (inaudible) it's not important.

But the past surely is a great, great, great asset for Italy. Also, a past focused on high technology, also for the sad pages of the past. For example, this is a mobile, you know? But the first telephone wasn't American telephone. Now it's the Apple. And we can discuss about how many Americans is Apple, not the piece, but the idea and the quality of product is clearly American.

The first telephone wasn't American telephone. It wasn't Bell telephone. Also, United States Congress in 2002, I think, recognize the first telephone was an Italian telephone, was created by Antonio Meucci. Antonio Meucci worked in the theater of Pergola in Florence, and he decided to invent this instrument. But he lost—he lost the opportunity to have the copyright for the lack of money. It's a sad history, but maybe could be also a possibility for the future in Italy. We have good ideas, and we are not able to realize. Why?

Because we love our present. Despite the situation of economic results or the number of unemployed and older results, for example, of GDP. We love our present, because the present is a present of quality of life, of good experiences in every field, food, holiday, wine, obviously cars (inaudible) not only food, wine.

But the challenge for my government is--love our future. I'm jealous of our future. I think the most important experience for Italy will be tomorrow, not yesterday. This is a very ambitious program. Maybe somebody could think the new prime minister in Italy is officially crazy. I know. This could be a reaction.

But this is the program of our government. Change ourselves to come back to be Italy. Come back to be Italy means a few things. First of all, change our political way in Europe, but after, change ourselves in the traditional problems of our country. Maybe you met the last time other prime ministers here.

And I think everybody spoke about the necessity of change of public administration, reduction of taxation, change of electoral law and institutional system, labor market system, civil justice. I can continue for two days with the list of problem.

The difference we are not interested in the list of problem. We must absolutely commit to try a solution, and this is the reason for the—for the first time after 1959 a party in Italy obtain 41 percent of votes in the election. It's the first time after 57 years, 56 years.

And our party is the party most with the incredible result in Europe, most votes in Europe, more than Angela Merkel's party. This obviously for Italian is a very important reason of pride, more or less, in the soccer match, also if—after this world champion, we don't discuss about soccer. We love very much baseball, cricket.


So what is the goal of our government? And I think we can begin with a question and answer. I think the first thing is change labor market in Italy, because labor market in Italy is focused on the past. In the last five years, Italy lost more or less five points in their ranking of unemployment results. Now we are 12.6, not 13. 0.4 is very important. But obviously, it's a joke, but the question is serious. It means a lot of people without prospective, without future.

And we are not a revolution in Italy, despite the average of unemployment, because there is a welfare state focused on families, with--maybe unbelievable for American people, and also for Italian people live in America--but it's the only reason to saving this moment the climate in the families and in the—in the citizens.

First of all, labor market. Very clearly, we think it's important reduce the number of problems for entrepreneurs. Now to choose a man to work in big company, as Fiat-Chrysler, or in a little—little team of two people who work in an artisan products in an historical city, the first problem is fight against public state and public administration. So reduce the number of problems by the state. Give freedom. Give simply the possibility to try.

And also give the message, the lost belong in experience of life, because in Italy, usually if you lost—if you fail out, you are finished. I'm really surprised the last time in which I visited Silicon Valley and East Coast in Boston and the University of Boston, when the start-uppers explain me--here, if you have the possibility to come back after a failure, you are more strong, you are stronger. The venture capitalists believe in me because in the past, I understood the reason of my mistakes, and now I can try again. Try again.

This is a possibility usually stopped in Italy. So change labor market, but change the mentality. In Latin expression, change for momentus. First of all, labor market.

Second, civil justice. Justice is absolutely—in the last twenty years, everybody spoke about justice in Italy for the problem of trials, you know, for the traditional problem, published in newspaper around the world. But the real vision for a new country is not discussed only about the problem of the past. It's explained very quickly and very simply, the timeline for a civil—civil justice must be different.

Now, U.K., USA, France and Germany have the first step of civil justice in one year. In Italy, 943 days, almost three years. We must absolutely reduce the time give to entrepreneur to investor the possibility to have one year the conclusion of process.

So, first of all, labor market. Second, civil justice. Third, a big cut of politicians. I'm not against politics. I think we must change politicians. This is the reason also for radical change in our government. This is an important difference. I'm not supporter of demagogic attack to politics. I think politics is a great opportunity for a man and woman. I believe in the dreams of politics. I believe politics could save a country. I believe politics, it's important, because not only economy change the world, so I believe in politics.

But I think exactly because I believe in politics, we must reduce the power of politicians. In Italy, there are in this moment 1,000 of members of parliament. I know, because I was mayor, and it's very strange, my history. I'm not a member of parliament. But this is not important, obviously.

One thousand members of parliament. So United States are not important as Italy, yeah, it's clear, but they had half of members of parliament.


You don't understand the importance of to be a member of parliament in Italy. It's not as the United States, a little country United States, no.


But reduce the power, the number, and the (inaudible) of political institutions is our priority, and we began with the (inaudible) four and five very quickly. Four, a fight against corruption. Nobody in international newspaper said this little news. The last three governments proposed authority anti-corruption. OK, good proposal, but nobody realized that.

We signed the decree. We choose judge who come from Naples and who vote against Camorra, very great man, Raffaele Cantone, and we decided to invest in this national authority against corruption. Now this is the great partner of public administration in few fields. For example, after two parliaments focused on Expo 2015 in Milan, the presence of authority, national against corruption, and the president of Judge Cantone solved every problem and now we will work for an incredible Expo in 2015 in Milan, very based on the quality of food, wine, but in general of sustainability around the world.

Fifth, prime minister—not from New York City, sorry—not for Washington, D.C., not from Boston, not from Chicago—Detroit, Friday. Not—I decided to start from Silicon Valley. Please don't translate (inaudible).


And I think very importantly this message, because with the revolution of information, communication technology, we can absolutely change the public administration. This mobile is not the instrument while I'm in online, while we wait for the sprint of certificato, and I use for SMS. This is the instrument of revolution of public administration in Italy, with the cloud of public administration, with the cloud from which we can use everything, every document, every relation with the public administration, and start from certificato to arrive to public administration really focused on the future.

So I believe important for Italy--build an idea and idea of public administration, able to give the message, the future is Italian. The future is not only American, Chinese...'but for you it's impossible. Italy, it's the country of the present, it's the country of the past'. No, for me, no. My challenge is change this vision, this approach.

This means a radical revolution, not simply evolution in the form of (inaudible) and the mentality of politicians in Italy. This means an incredible revolution and not simple evolution also in the storytelling of Italy, in the storytelling of Italy. But this means also an incredible challenge with the citizens.

When I met the young start-uppers and they were young scientists in Silicon Valley, my speech was that I don't ask you, come back. For me, it's not important you come back. You are citizens of the world. It's the traditional system of Italian mentality—ah, there are the people who are outside of USA. OK, you stay in USA, good. But create value for our country. Create opportunity for everything around the world.

The Italian success in the past is not simply to stay on the border, to defend themselves, but we give the possibility to (inaudible) around the world. This is the meaning of Leonardo da Vinci, of Michelangelo. Obviously, speaking about Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci in the moment da Vinci we have the problem with (inaudible) could be strange. But our dream is exactly that. A fight in our country to change and to give the message of revolution for the politicians and for the public employers, but in the same time, give this message of hope around the world, because if Italy become again Italy, this is important for my country, but I think this is absolutely important also for United States, our relations.

Thank you so much.


Thank you.

PORAT: Thank you. Thank you very much for the opening comments. We obviously have a lot of ground to cover. I think what's going to be very important just to go into detail on these elements of reform and get specific, because the question is...

RENZI: Right, go.

PORAT: ... how do we end up implementing them? But before we start there, the opening problem is austerity versus growth and a different point of view about austerity versus growth. And you've been very clear. You've said the idea of an austerity without reforms and without growth is dangerous. To get out of this phase with just austerity is wrong. The problem is you're at odds with Germany on this point, and they do hold the cards.

So how, Mr. Prime Minister, do you intend to move Germany to give yourself time to implement what we're about to speak about next, the various reforms?

RENZI: I think austerity is an incredible mistake of Europe. But for me, it's impossible to explain very quickly this position without a radical revolution in Italy. Let me be very frank. In the derby between austerity and growth, Italy stay on the side of growth, because it's the only way to exit from this crisis. United States explained us that. Investing in growth, the economy recovery, very—I don't know it's very quickly. But for European parameters, very quickly.

When I go to Brussels to discuss about it, Brussels is obviously the capital of Europe and the kingdom of technocrats, technocrats. People who doesn't see a vision. They only slide (ph).

OK. I focus on this slide (ph). I must present myself with a revolution in Italy, and then I will able to try to change this battle, because the reaction is, OK, the usual Italian who explain we must invest in austerity and continue with public debt. But for me, it's impossible to understand the Italian public debt is very high, but the Italian private riches is absolutely higher than other countries of Europe.

If I'm not able to change public administration, bureaucracy, and labor market, and civil justice in Italy, I'm not able to invest in this battle. And so it's—I stay on the growth side, but I wait for—I give example. If I'm not able to give example, I'm not believable in Europe.

PORAT: So let's move to the examples, because we would agree. The West has an incredible affinity for Italy, and the U.S., our love for Italy is very deep. But there is a high cynicism about the ability to make that kind of change. So let's start with one of your core points, which is the job market, labor reform, and the jobs act, which is clearly a cornerstone of your agenda.

And you've described the labor rules as comparable to apartheid. That's your word, given the sizable protection for insiders versus young workers, and therefore very much needs to change. And when you look at what's happened with the cost of labor in Italy, which has been increasing while unemployment is increasing, that contrasts with many of your neighbors. And clearly there's a lot of focus on Article 18 of the 1970 labor act, which limits flexibility and seems to be the major lightning rod.

So how—what can we expect to see in terms of the jobs act? What kind of reform? And how soon will we start to see the benefit of that change?

RENZI: It's not easy explaining very with few words.

PORAT: I started with the tough one.

RENZI: The last 44 years (inaudible) labor market in Italy. 1970, an incredible—very important law called Statuto dei Lavoratori changed the history of labor market in Italy. Now the people of radical left believe the only way for us is maintain this law.

Forty-four years ago, there are different world, obviously. Absolutely different. But few people believe if we defend the Statuto dei Lavoratori we are really men and women of left. The battle is on the left. I'm the leader of the Democratic Party in Italy. I'm not the leader of Republican Party. So it's in my side of party.

And the battle is exactly in this direction. Change very completely means avoid the possibility for the judge to decide if the people change jobs or not, because in this moment, it's not the entrepreneur in Italy. Only in the companies with a number of employers more than fifteen. And explain the labor market--that's difficult to some.

Give—now is the judge who decide if the (inaudible) is correct or not. We must change this approach. We must give simplicity to entrepreneur. OK, this is the law. Clear. Very simply. And in the same time, to give safety to the worker, to give the possibility to invest in education, in training, I offer you a possibility of training—not as United States, more sure than the United States—but you must accept a job after the course of—after the training.

So give simplicity to entrepreneur, give safety to worker. This is the change. But this is possible only if we reduce the number of laws about labor market.

One question, not for you, but for our distinguished guest. How many law in Italy spoke about—speaking about labor market for you? Marciano (ph) doesn't—it's impossible to (inaudible) how many law? The answer is impossible, 2,100. Two thousand, one hundred. We reduce forty, forty-five. Give simplicity. This is my goal. And we have in this moment in parliament this discussion. I'm very optimistic, because my party, the left party, decided to invest in the future and not defend the past. And so this change is absolutely in your hands.

PORAT: So staying with the theme of the judicial system, the legal system and problems, the other manifestation of that is foreign direct investment in Italy, which is about half the level of the EU. It's about a third of the level of the U.K. And there are a lot of reasons that are pointed to, whether it's labor law, whether it's the tax rate.

But the judicial system, the legal system, the slow pace of dispute resolution that you mentioned is one of the very important ones. So can you talk a bit more about how you intend to attack that problem? And which industries in particular do you expect to be the biggest beneficiaries? Where are we going to see foreign direct investment increase?

RENZI: There is a paradox, because the people (inaudible) but there is a paradox. The American company who decide to invest in Italy now is usually happy. Example number one, the most important company in Florence, my city, is not a company of art, of culture, of wine, of food. It's oil and gas, GE.

Oil and gas GE Florence, with--headquartered in Florence--in 2009, in 2010, was the most performed around the world for GE. Because a part of Made in Italy not considered in our storytelling is the quality, for example, of engineering of Italy. Made in Italy is not only fashion. Made in Italy is not only Ferrari or food. Made in Italy is also the incredible quality of engineering.

So the people, the companies who decide an investment in Italy usually are absolutely happy now. But there is a—not—I think not prejudice—I think is, correctly, it's comprehensive. There is people who worry about investing in Italy because the time of public administration, of justice, are longer than the rest of Europe.

So I cannot say now there are here different countries—the country's debt, but we reduce absolutely the time of justice. In three years, we reduce the numbers of days for first step in civil court, and we give the possibility for an entrepreneur, an investor to have a timeline, sure, for investment. These are the two things I can offer.

So if there is here some investor, I'm ready to accept every proposal. How many—how kind of investment, I think in this moment, Italy is finally open to investors around the world. Alitalia, its incredible history, our success until 80 years. Alitalia in '90s—in '70s, '80s was one of the most important companies around the world. Then the tragic role of politicians in Alitalia and Italian system destroyed this company with an incredible power of unions and a lack of vision of the managers, because I'm not against unions and supporter of manager or against manager supporter unions.

I think in Alitalia, both realize an incredible tragedy. So now Alitalia was bought by Etihad. And few unions leaders told me, ah, it's impossible. We must absolutely maintain the Italian flag. Italian flag in the plane, it's OK. Alitalia, Italian flag in the stadium, it's OK. But I'm not interested about passport of entrepreneur. I'm interested in project and the vision who invest in the Made in Italy, in the high quality.

We are the number-five as a country in tourism, and we lost a lot of opportunities because we are the first 25 years ago. It's impossible. We have plane company fail out. So we are open in the—for the investors, in—for Alitalia.

For example, this (inaudible) come si dice...


RENZI: (inaudible) steel, OK.

PORAT: Steel.

RENZI: Acciaio means steel. But siderurgia means steel. OK.


Let me speak about steel.


There is a very important firuge (ph) link between Genova, Piombino, Turni, and Albavo Taranto (ph), four cities, little cities in..Genova--Genova is a very important city. Four cities in Italy.

Those cities are the capital of steel. And for few reasons different—now it's not the moment to explain that—they lost positions. Now for Taranto, in Ilvaid (ph) quarter, there is a race between two Indian companies. In Piombino, there is an Indian company against an Algerian company. I'm ready to bring everybody because I said in every public discussion the time of Italian close relation between politicians, managers, entrepreneurs, bankers, is finished. Italy is not only beauty. Italy is open, is open to the business, is open to the ideas, and everybody could invest in Italy with the same—exactly the same possibility of Italian people.

And for us, this new change in the mind, because in the past, the position of, "We defend the Italian flag," was a position absolutely stupid for the economy, but very strong in the public discussion. And this is my personal point of view, this is finished.

PORAT: Two brief questions. So you talked a lot about the political system, two times as many members of parliament as we have in the U.S., and the goal to streamline that so you can streamline decision-making and not have the bottleneck we have here and you have in Italy. How far along are you? And what's the next step in that process? Real briefly, and then we're going to want to open it up to our members.

RENZI: Next step will be the second lecture of the process of constitutional reforms, approved for the first time in last August in the Senate, to surpass the actual Senate and to reduce the procedure of legislation. So the next will be in September, when chambers of deputy began the study about it, and in less than one year, all will be concluded.

I decided to give a message to Italian people. And I call step by step, passo dopo passo, this process. I offered a vision, the final vision. We arrive in this point. Civil justice, constitutional reforms, with the concrete points of goal, concrete results. And step by step, we show in the website the results, because the risk in Italy is the lack of implementation.

So given the very strong determination to arrive in every result, this is the (inaudible) for the constitutional reform with the reduction of member of parliaments—of member of parliament, and we—with a new electoral law, because this is important, you know in United States you wait for the election and in the night, in the electoral, in the election night, you have the winner.

More or less. Only in 2000 maybe.


You smile for 2000. For us, every day is 2000.


It's correct. It's—if you—if you are sick and you love Italian politics, you watch the TV after the elections, and everybody said, "I winner." I'm not winner, but I arrived first. I arrived first, but I'm happy for there is a result. Nobody lose in Italy. It's a very good strategy for a human being, but for a political institution, this is impossible. So with the new electoral law approved by the chamber—and now we wait for the Senate—also because in Italy there is the mechanism, we will surpass with stop of becalismo perfecto, in other words, chamber and senate make the same things, and we must absolutely change this point is in the reforms.

So in the new electoral, there is a very simple solution—second round we call bellotaggio (ph), I don't know if ballot is correct, we, second round. The first, the two first party have the second round. In this case is obviously the winner is one because after the second round, we are sure about the result. This is for the next election, we will be—in 2018—with 2018, new elections, second round division between senate and chamber, reduction of local powers of region, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera

PORAT: My last question before we turn to our members: culture—culture and innovation. You've talked a lot about your trip to your trip to Stanford University, to Silicon Valley, and the lessons from there. And obviously, Italy—when we all think of Italy, an extraordinary culture of art, of fashion, of design, what message—what's most important message that you took from your trip there, other than it's OK to fail? Move beyond the OK to fail to what else can you bring back that will help drive growth, because the technology innovation is such a proud source of growth for us here.

RENZI: I was very surprised when Steve Jobs spoke about David of Michelangelo as a model, because my personal point of view ten years ago was surprised. Why a genius of innovation spoke about the past?

But I think there is a link between the ability of ICT revolution and in general for an innovation of Silicon Valley, but in United States in general, not only in Silicon Valley, and the ideas of the culture of the past in my country.

Let me be mayor of Florence just only here. Florence was an incredible place for revolution because the people invest in education, not because the people was able to make a masterpiece. Masterpiece come from an high quality of education.

The first man who understand the importance of education in Florence, Cosimo Grande (ph), created a climate. Now we can say business context on the cultural context who permit to everybody become a genius. Everybody know—in the same time, in the time of Renaissance, few people lived in this city only because it was educated to change.

This is the reason for the success of the United States in a few areas, in a lot of areas. The relation between a great education and ability to invest in the future. This is the reason for which people change.

So I have a lot of things to do after this trip, for example, change the mentality of cultural supervisors in Italy. In Italy, there is an idea of culture (inaudible) so in other ways, I think Italy is not product to present of investors. Italy is a wonderful masterpiece, surrounded by problems, surrounded by red tape of bureaucracy, surrounded by inability to leadership for a political management, because this is a problem, and I decide that. I obtain an incredible consensus, very amazing also for me—I'm surprised in the night of elections.

QUESTION: Richard Gardner, former U.S. ambassador to Italy. Thank you for your wonderful statement. Does Italy have a foreign policy? This is the Council on Foreign Relations. What are your priorities in foreign affairs?

RENZI: Now, Libya. My priority is Libya. So, Mr. Ambassador, sorry if I am very frank. We have a lot of priorities in this moment. This is a period incredible. I was kid when the very important (inaudible) spoke about the hand of history, the brief century, you remember. Now all is changed. This is not a history. This is the end of geography. All countries change. You think about what is the situation between Russia and Ukraine, because Syria and Iraqi, between Middle East.

We have a lot of problems, and I think we lack a common vision by European politics. We must absolutely invest in a new foreign political strategy for Europe. But for me, for Italy, the priority is in this moment Libya, because not for a problem of energy, because when I spoke about the political—foreign political strategy, few people said, ah, Italy is worried for the energy. No. Italy in the last month decide strategy for energy with—above all with Africa, Mozambique, Congo, Angola, Djibouti, few things realized. And in the next forty years, we are forty, forty-five years (inaudible) independence. This is a very important, new. You remember your time in Italy.

But the real challenge for me in Libya is the terrorism, is the presence (inaudible) very dangerous man in a country without control. And if you permit me, I think also Libya is different than other parts of world. This is the first year in the Balkan area after 1914, the first year without war in Balkan area, because in this case, the decision of international community to make an intervention very strong in Balkan area produced results. Now the world is different in Balkan area.

In Libya, not. In Libya, the decision of intervention don't change—change regime, obviously, make the end for a terrible dictator, but now Libya is without a clear governance. And this is a problem for Italy and for Europe.

Obviously, we can speak about Iraq, Syria, the relation with Russian and the Ukraine, the problem of international community I read in the last number of Foreign Relations—a very interesting discussion about a vetocracy, the risk, the problem of vetocracy around the world. It's very interesting and full of—it's very important also the speech of President Obama today in the General Assembly with a lots of considerations, very interested, but if you ask me, what is the priority for you in this moment? Libya. And Europe, because the lack of Europe is a problem.

PORAT: Woman in the third—further.

QUESTION: Yes, Nina Gardner, Strategy International, and a member of the Women for EXPO Committee. A question on gender. You've talked about—Italy actually is the third to last in the OECD countries of women in the labor force, only beaten by Mexico and Turkey. I'd love to hear specifically what you plan to do about getting more women in the labor force, because these are the women who are actually more educated coming out of the universities, and what you can do about more women's entrepreneurship, because I think there's a lot of talent in women entrepreneurs, if you get through the red tape and let them start their own businesses.

RENZI: I try to give the good example in political system and also in economic system. The good example means for the first in history of Italy, the half of members of government are women. And it's very important to give the first woman to defense, the first—not the first, not the second, not the third—in the foreign political affairs. The most important reforms today are in the hands of women in my government, constitutional reform, public administration reform, education reform.

This is very important as a message. This message comes from my party, but also from my personal experience. The same things was for me the way and the strategy when I was mayor and—mayor of Florence, half presence of women.

Now in the new team of my party, because it's called secreteria, is the board of the party, after the polemics (ph) of men, it's impossible, Matteo, every day half woman, half women, half women, half women. I decided to stop with half women, and I decided to indicate seven men and eight women to give the message to my dear friends of Democratic Party. Obviously, this is only a message—important, but only a message.

The second message is in the companies, in the public—public companies (inaudible) companies owned by the state, by government. The new president of Eni is a woman. The new president of ENIL is a woman. The new president of Poste Italiani is a woman. I spoke with former chief of police in Italy, and president of Mechanica, and he told me, no, I stay here, I don't work to Casablanca, please. I am a man, and I decided to remain a man.


But the message of change is very—and also in my team, also in my team, I have a lot of women work with me. Obviously, the message for me is not sufficient, but we need a mentality, change.

For the Italian politics, the message is very clear. After twenty years of polemics about the role of women in politics, not only in politics, the message of—there is a new generation of leaders. With half women, it's absolutely powerful as message.

But I think we must change mentality, and starting from the education for the little children, if—in Italy. When you spoke about Italy, remember there are two Italys, unfortunately, in the performances. The performance of north Italy usually is absolutely better than south Italy. The performance of economy in Italy in north Italy is more or less the same of Germany. The problem is the performance in the south Italy. And this is the place in which I will win the match.

The lack of system of education for the women in the south, it's unacceptable. Just one date, because I—speaking only about emotion and this kind of—two dates. Italy is committed to arrive in 2020 as 33 percent in the composition of (inaudible) kindergarten—kindergarten for around the country. Now the principal cities are more than 50 percent, or less than 50 percent, a good result.

In the south, the average is 8, 9, 12, 13 percent. This is a problem. Starting from kindergarten, continuing with the same (inaudible), the same retribution (ph)—for example, justice system now we know in Italy to become judge with a concourse, with a public race. The half of winner are women now. More than half. But in the first line of governor, in the first—in the first nine of (ph) management, the number of women are not the half. One on six.

So there is not simply a message as the message of ministers women, but also the concrete strategy in the kindergarten, in the salary, in the place of responsibility, in the education, in the respect. I'm really confident, because Italy is—the role of women in Italy will be a part of our asset for the future.

PORAT: We have time for one more question. Gentleman right up in the front.


PORAT: Wait. If you can wait for...

QUESTION: I'm sorry.

PORAT: And if you can ask your question in English, please.

QUESTION: Yes, Pasquino, New York University, Politics Department. To achieve this important necessary transformation of Italy, it seems to me you need vision and good ideas. You have them. You need specialists and competent people helping you. There are a lot of them in Italy, from the minister of economy to people who have been paying in designing the new electoral reform. But you need also majority in the parliament. And that's the weak...

RENZI: The smile is dangerous, eh? Your smile is dangerous.

QUESTION: Yeah, well, do you think we can hope that the parliament will follow your good ideas and your intelligent specialists? I hope so.

RENZI: Thank you so much. Thank you so much, because you said the things very interesting. But very quickly, I'm sure about the capacity of this parliament to understand I'm not the cause of change in Italy. I'm the effect of change in Italy.

In other words, my personal point of view is that Italy needs a revolution, not an evolution, because this is the moment—arrive in the life of countries a moment in which is absolutely important change. Arrive the wave. In this moment, after the result of European elections of 41 percent, after the message very strong arrived from the citizens to member of parliament, I'm absolutely sure the members of parliament are committed to realize those reforms.

Obviously, every day in the Italian newspaper I read there is a problem, there is a problem. Yes, it's normal there is a problem. In Silicon Valley, two days ago, a teacher explained us—a professor explained us, OK, I will save the 1,800 ideas. I choose few ideas, and now the result good are for nineteen projects, 1,800 ideas, nineteen projects.

What is the problem in Italy? In Italy, the storytelling of media—and not only media—is very clear. The people spoke only about the cases of not success. If there is nineteen good performance, the people spoke about 1,781 possible ideas fail.

I understand you smile, but you understand my cry.


Because I must absolutely change also the ability to storytelling (inaudible) spoke about storytelling in Italy and the translation of storytelling, racconta una storia, it's not difficult. If a politician racconta una storia it's not a good politician. It's a man who lost time. Racconta una storia means a man lost time, invent (inaudible), it's not the man who change country. It's a man who lost time.

So the storytelling in United States, an incredible ability to give (inaudible), to give an opportunity, to give a strategy, to give a dream, in Italy racconta una storia means a nightmare. In USA, storytelling is a dream. So for this reason, I think, yes, we have a lot of problems with the parliament, with the council, and with advisers, with everything.

But our first problem is change the mind of this—let me be very frank—is the same thing for every part of Italy. I'm committed to change, but I necessity—but the first necessity is change the storytelling, give this opportunity and hope.

PORAT: And on that note, we unfortunately are out of time.


I'd like—I just want to say...

RENZI: Thank you. Thank you.



"…the challenge for my government is-love our future. I'm jealous of our future. I think the most important experience for Italy will be tomorrow, not yesterday. This is a very ambitious program. Maybe somebody could think the new prime minister in Italy is officially crazy."
- Matteo Renzi
"I think austerity is an incredible mistake of Europe. But for me, it's impossible to explain very quickly this position without a radical revolution in Italy. Let me be very frank. In the derby between austerity and growth, Italy stay[s] on the side of growth, because it's the only way to exit from this crisis."
- Matteo Renzi
"Italy is open, is open to the business, is open to the ideas, and everybody could invest in Italy with the same-exactly the same possibility of Italian people. And for us, this new change in the mind, because in the past, the position of, 'We defend the Italian flag,' was a position absolutely stupid for the economy, but very strong in the public discussion. And this is my personal point of view-this is finished."
- Matteo Renzi

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