News Column

Mario Monti Says 'Grow Italy' Plans In Place

Dec 29, 2011
Mario Monti, Italian premier
Mario Monti, Italian premier

Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti on Thursday announced a series of measures designed to relaunch Italy's struggling economy, including job market reforms, additional public works investments and financial incentives for research and development.

"Once again the timeframe will be quite swift, we are not allowed to work calmly," Monti said of the measures, which are due to be introduced next month.

The Italian premier, a former European Union commissioner who heads a technocratic government, said the plans would not "make much use of public money," in keeping with his government's target of balancing the budget by 2013 and reducing Italy's huge public debt.

"I wouldn't have any objections if you were to call these measures 'Grow Italy'," Monti said.

Monti wants the measures in place ahead of key eurozone and EU meetings scheduled for January 23 and 30.

Reforms of Italy's job market would also be necessary to encourage youth employment, he said. The country currently has some of Europe's strictest norms governing the hiring and firing of people, a situation many critics say stifles entrepreneurship and investments.

Monti said the changes would be "fair," in keeping with a pledge he made when taking office following Silvio Berlusconi's resignation last month.

Earlier this month, parliament approved a package of austerity measures worth some $39.2 billion, which Monti has said is necessary to save Italy from bankruptcy.

The premier is under pressure to tackle 1.9 trillion euros of public debt, which exceeds Italy's annual gross domestic product.

The austerity package consists mostly of new taxes aimed at filling state coffers to assist the government in meeting its target of balancing the budget by 2013.

Italy has seen a spike in its borrowing costs in recent months.

But on Thursday, interest rates on Italian government bonds fell for the second day running, with the country's treasury raising around 7 billion euro in four bond auctions.

In the most closely-watched auction, Italy raised 2.5 billion euros from 10-year bonds at an average yield of 6.98 percent - lower than the 7.56 percent it had to pay at an equivalent auction last month.

Source: Copyright 2011 dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH

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