ROME, June 27 (Xinhua) -- Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi on Monday warned national lawmakers against underestimating the impact of the UK referendum, and urged a new strategy based on growth to relaunch the European Union (EU).
"The popular vote in the UK marked a historic event, and whoever tries now to underestimate or exploit it would make a capital political mistake," Renzi told the Italian Upper House.
"That decision (to leave EU) is a huge weight on the history of the EU," he stated.
Renzi addressed both houses of the parliament on Monday, a day ahead of a European Council meeting scheduled on June 28 and 29 in Brussels.
EU leaders will gather for the first time after the Brexit vote, and the meeting will be mostly devoted to discuss its political repercussions.
"I believe we should not focus just on Brexit, but on how to set a clear strategy to revamp the EU," Renzi said.
The EU is at a turning point, and the new strategy should be based on further growth and investments, and less austerity and bureaucracy, according to Renzi.
"What happened in the UK might be the biggest chance for Europe, if we only stop being defensive," he said.
Soon after the outcome of the UK referendum became clear last week, the Italian prime minister had stressed the country's unchanged commitment to the path of European integration.
"Europe will remain home for us, and for our children and grandchildren. We are convinced of it now more than ever, even though that home needs to be renovated" he stated.
Italy also joined other major EU countries and EU institutions in urging the UK government to trigger Article 50 of the EU Lisbon Treaty as soon as possible, in order to avoid prolonged instability.
The article of the Lisbon Treaty rules over the mechanism of leaving the block: it allows a member state to formally notify the EU of its decision to withdraw from the Union, and obliges EU institutions to try to negotiate an agreement with that country.
Renzi will also hold crisis talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francoise Holland in Berlin on Monday.
Foreign ministers from the EU's six founding members, including Italy's Paolo Gentiloni, had already met in the German capital on Saturday, issuing a join statement.
"We now expect the UK government to provide clarity, and give effect to this decision as soon as possible."
The six ministers also stated their countries' "firmest belief that the EU provides a historically unique and indispensable framework for the pursuit of freedom, prosperity and security in Europe."