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Italy new PM vows to reverse austerity, pursue growth

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Italy’s new Prime Minister Enrico Letta delivers his speech at the parliament in Rome on April 29, 2013.

Italy’s new Prime Minister Enrico Letta says the coalition government will pursue growth policies to reverse an austerity drive which is killing Italy.

The remarks were made on Monday during Letta’s inaugural speech to parliament.

“Italy is dying from austerity alone. Growth policies cannot wait,” he said, pledging to have results in 18 months or “face consequences.”

The 46-year-old premier made persuading Europe to reverse austerity policy as one of his central aims, saying the European Union was suffering from “a crisis of legitimacy” and should become “once more a motor of sustainable growth.”

Letta, a moderate from the center-left Democratic Party, said the government would reform electoral law and welfare provision, suspend property tax from June, and cut salaries of ministers who receive a second income for being a member of parliament.

“We need a welfare system which is more universal, more focused on young people and women, extending it to those who are not covered, especially temporary workers,” he said.

Letta also stated that he would travel to Germany and other European countries this week in order to discuss his plans to switch to growth-based policies.

The new coalition government faces a confidence vote in the lower house of parliament later in the day and will go to another vote in the upper house on Tuesday.


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