Italian Prime Minister says that this is ''the time of Rome'' as he backs the city's bid to host the 2024 Olympic Games. He also calls for European countries to spend as much money on culture and sport as security.
SHOWS: LAUSANNE, SWITZERLAND (JANUARY 21, 2016) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL) 1. (SOUNDBITE) (English) ITALIAN PRIME MINISTER MATTEO RENZI SAYING: "This is the time of Rome, this is my personal position. We are ready, we are in, and I think we are also the strongest candidature for the moment, with all the respect for Paris, for Los Angeles and for Budapest. All friends but we believe a lot in this challenge." 2. WHITE FLASH 3. (SOUNDBITE) (English) ITALIAN PRIME MINISTER MATTEO RENZI SAYING: "My personal position is that for every euro invested in security, in defence, cyber security, technology, we can invest euros in culture, education, research and sport. This is the innovation of Italian law of budget. I believe this is very important because in our suburbs, in our banlieues, we lost in the past - in our, means in European suburbs, in the European banlieues - we lost a lot of contacts with the people in some cases. You think about Paris, you think about Brussels, you think about London." 4. RENZI SIGNING IOC'S GOLDEN BOOK / RENZI SHAKING HANDS WITH IOC PRESIDENT, THOMAS BACH AND POSING FOR PHOTOGRAPHS STORY: Italy's Prime Minister Matteo Renzi was at the International Olympic Committee (IOC) on Thursday (January 21) backing Rome's bid to host the 2024 Olympics, and urging European countries to invest as much in sports and culture as in security. Renzi led a large Italian delegation to the Lausanne headquarters of the IOC where he made his pitch to IOC's President Thomas Bach and officials of the candidature commitee. Four cities are applying to host the 2024 Summer Games: Paris, Rome, Budapest and Los Angeles. Hamburg pulled out at the end of last year. "This is the time of Rome, this is my personal position," Renzi told Reuters Television after the meeting. "We are ready, we are in, and I think we are also the strongest candidature for the moment, with all the respect for Paris, for Los Angeles and for Budapest. All friends, but we believe a lot in this challenge." Italy's attempt to host the 2024 Olympic Games is a chance to clean up the scandal-plagued capital city Rome, the bid's chairman Luca Cordero di Montezemolo said last week. Montezemolo, a former head of Ferrari who has said it would cost Rome 24.9 million euros to make the bid, also attended the Lausanne talks. Some have questioned whether the city can manage the lucrative contracts associated with the Olympics. These are estimated to have cost London, the last host city, some nine billion pounds ($13.1 billion). A major mafia trial is under way in Rome after news broke in late 2014 that a criminal ring had allegedly been skimming off millions of euros off city hall contracts for years. Renzi, asked whether spending on the Olympics would be part of the EU deficit calculations, asserted that there were no difficulties with the budget. "My personal position is that for every euro invested in security, defence, cybersecurity and technology, we can invest euros in culture, education, research and sports," he said. "This is the innovation of the Italian law of budget. This is important because in our suburbs, our banlieues, we lost in the past. In our means, in European suburbs, in the European banlieues - we lost a lot of contact with the people in some cases. If you think about Paris, about Brussels, about London." There was a deadly attack in which over 120 people were killed in November 2015 in Paris, and a subsequent lock-down of Brussels by police looking for suspects linked to the Paris incident. Italy's organising committee is to present its project on February 17. The IOC will decide the host city by election in September 2017.