Giorgio Squinzi, head of Italy's leading industrial association Confindustria, on Thursday urged the government of Prime Minister Enrico Letta to introduce the much-needed economic reforms amid new data showing slight though difficult recovery.
In an interview with a local financial radio, Squinzi said if concrete results do not emerge after a planned meeting with Letta on Feb. 19, the local entrepreneurial world will formally ask Italian President Giorgio Napolitano to "take the right decisions."
In Italy, the president has the power to dissolve parliament and call for new elections if the country's situation happens to be dramatic, for example due to an economic collapse.
"It would be a big problem if Letta visits us on Feb. 19 without giving concrete answers to the requests of Italian companies," Squinzi said.
In the past days, the Confindustria chief repeatedly said that he continued to see strong concern and despair in the Italian entrepreneurial world as the country is facing fiscal pressure amid declining income and consumption.
A study released by Italy's largest business association Confcommercio earlier this week found that this year taxes are expected to increase to more than 2.1 billion euros (2.8 billion U.S. dollars) from the initially estimated 973 million euros (1.3 million U.S. dollars).
Italy's gross domestic product (GDP) halted a two-year recession in the third quarter of 2013 but Confindustria has estimated that the country's economy fell 1.8 percent in 2013 and will grow by a moderate 0.6-0.7 percent this year.
"I am not a defeatist but only a realist," Squinzi said in response to what he saw as an exaggerated optimism of Letta. In his recent visit to the United Arab Emirates, the Italian prime minister said he was confident in his country's return to economic growth.
New data signaling a slight improvement of the Italian economy amid an overall difficult situation came out on Thursday.
Confcommercio said its consumer-spending index was up 0.1 percent in December compared to November but down 1.3 percent compared to the same month in 2012.
It was still not clear, the association said in a statement, whether Italy "came to a watershed for household spending at the end of 2013 or, as already happened in the past, it registered a momentary attempt of upturn in consumption that does not translate into a recovery."