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Italy has assumed the EU presidency, taking the reins from Greece, whose presidency ended June 30.
The revolving presidency will belong to Italy for the next sixth months. Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi has promised to use his term to push for a "United States of Europe," which will be particularly challenging with the recent rise of Euro-skeptic parties in European elections.
Renzi recently launched an appeal to convince European leaders that a unified continent is in all European countries' best interest.
"A stronger and more cohesive Europe is the only solution to solve the problems of our time," Renzi said during a speech in Florence. "For my children's future, I dream, think, and work for the United States of Europe."