Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi said Saturday that his country is no longer a "companion in misfortune" of debt-wracked Greece, as it was three or four years ago.
"We need to stop calling Italy the sick man of Europe, because it's no longer true," Renzi told Italian television channel TG5, on the eve of Greece's crucial referendum which could determine the country's financial future and even its place in the eurozone.
Renzi said that Italy is no longer afraid of the consequences of Greece's financial woes -- unlike during the 2011 crisis when fears were high of contagion spreading from the Greek crisis to many other heavily-indebted European nations.
He underlined that reforms undertaken in Italy have shown that "we are on the side of those who seek to resolve the problem".
Renzi has in recent weeks sought to reassure that Italy is on solid economic ground despite the Greek crisis.
In late June he told an Italian economic daily that the country was "out of the firing line" of Greek crisis fallout, adding that his "concern isn't over what could happen to Italy, but over the scenarios of global difficulties that may arise".