Archive for Monday, December 5, 2011

Italian government OKs austerity measures

December 5, 2011

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— Premier Mario Monti said Sunday his government of technocrats has approved a package of austerity and growth measures worth 30 billion euros, or $40.53 billion, to “reawaken” the Italian economy and help save the euro common currency from collapse.

The measures include immediate cuts to the costs of maintaining Italy’s bulky political class as well as significant measures to fight tax evasion, Monti told a news conference following a three-hour Cabinet meeting.

As part of the political cost cuts, Monti said he would forgo his salaries as premier and finance minister — a move he said was a personal decision and not meant as an example for other ministers in the government, which was formed 2 1/2 weeks ago after Premier Silvio Berlusconi’s resignation under market and political pressure.

The package also includes measures to spur growth and competition, while aiming to stamp out rampant nepotism. But it also raises the retirement age and the number of years of service to qualify for a full pension, steps strongly opposed by unions, and imposes new taxes on Italians’ private wealth, including their homes, boats and luxury cars, measures that conservatives have protested.

Monti will outline the measures today in addresses to both houses of Parliament, which must approve them.

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