Italian Premier Mario Monti emerged from a cabinet meeting Thursday with two measures, one that aims to boost economic growth in the digital sector, and one that would fight political corruption at the local level. "Today we are presenting two very different measures, but both have the common goal of transforming Italy," said Monti. "We are presenting a new Italy, one that seeks to erase aspects of the old Italy that we would prefer not to see in the future".
The premier's remarks came in the wake of a string of regional scandals that culminated in the Tuesday arrest of Franco Fiorito, the former Lazio region caucus leader of ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi's People of Freedom (PdL) party.
Among other things, the anti-corruption bill would use the Audit Court to carry out "preventive supervision of lawfulness" of a region's accounting. The financial police may also be called upon for further assistance, according to the bill. If the Audit Court rules that certain administrators committed actions that destablized the government, they can be banned from office for 10 years, according to the bill. The other bill aims to stimuluate growth in Italy's recessionary economy, namely in the digital sector.
"We have approved a growth and innovation bill, particularly in the hi-tech sector and for start-up companies.
The measures have the potential to transform Italy," he said, adding that the bill aimed to close a technology gap in Italy and ultimately boost GDP. Last month the Italian government was forced to sharply slash its economic forecasts to predict a 2.4% contraction in 2012, double the 1.2% drop it had previously forecast. That was after Italy shrank for the fifth straight quarter in the second quarter, with gross domestic product sinking 0.8% in the second quarter and 2.6% in the year.