Italian PM pushes ahead with promised reforms to revive economy

GMT 13:09 2014 Saturday ,14 June

Arab Today, arab today Italian PM pushes ahead with promised reforms to revive economy

Italy's newly elected Prime Minister Matteo Renzi

The Italian government on Friday presented a package of reforms in a move to revive the country's economy plagued by bureaucracy and corruption.
The package, including measures to streamline public administration and fight corruption, is another step in newly-elected Prime Minister Matteo Renzi's promised plan to reform the country.
A spending cut will be introduced in the country's "malfunctioning" public service, which costs companies an average of 7,000 euros (9,480 U.S. dollars) per year in paperwork and fees, according to a study released by Small Businesses Association of Mestre.
On the strength of the new measures, public employees will be transferred, if necessary and without their consent, to work as far as 50 km away from their base location, Renzi told a press conference after a cabinet meeting late in the day.
The premier also promised to create some 15,000 new jobs for young people by enforcing a retirement age limit.
Tax reductions for small companies are also in the bill, which will have to get parliamentary approval. Italy's small companies have been the hardest hit during the country's longest postwar recession.
With a much-awaited move in a country which has been shocked by recent multiple bribery scandals even related to next year's world exposition in Milan, the government on Friday also adopted an anti-corruption decree.
The decree, which has immediate effect but has to be converted into law within 60 days in order to remain in force, gave the head of national anti-corruption authority, Raffaele Cantone, extraordinary powers to supervise public tenders and impose penalties.
Special measures have also been designed to improve competitiveness in the agricultural sector and enhance environmental protection following a series of recent pollution probes.
Meanwhile, Renzi, whose country is set to take over the rotating presidency of the European Union on July 1, reaffirmed his pledge to introduce reforms of the judicial, welfare and school systems in the next few months.
An extraordinary victory by Renzi's center-left Democratic Party in last month's elections to the European Parliament was widely considered by political analysts as a personal triumph for the 39-year-old former mayor of Florence.
Despite his personal popularity, Renzi has been criticized by opponents for having so far made only a few steps, mainly centered on a cut in income tax for low earners and on a modest labor reform, on the promised ambitious path to change Italy.
Earlier this week, he suffered a setback when 13 senators from his party withdrew their backing in protest against his moves to replace the Senate as an elected chamber with one made up of mayors, regional councillors and presidential appointees.
The youngest ever premier in Italy's history, however, has repeatedly pledged to push ahead with the reforms. He said on Friday that 13 senators seeking "15 minutes of fame" cannot be allowed to go against the will of 12 million voters and block what their country is in urgent need for.
"Citizens have asked us to change Italy, and I accept all the proposals in line with what citizens are asking," he said. "I do resign myself to the idea that Italy is cast into morass .. I did not get 40.8 percent of the vote to scrape a living," Renzi said.

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