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Italian parliament approves anti-crisis measures

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A package of measures proposed by the Italian government aimed at improving its struggling economy has received final approval by the country’s parliament.

The package, approved on Friday, includes measures aimed at reorganizing financial resources, limiting bureaucracy, and improving the country’s civil justice system.

The package prioritizes infrastructure by allocating some 3 billion euros (USD 4 billion) to public projects in 2013. The government says the plan is estimated to create about 30,000 temporary construction jobs.

Under the measures introduced by Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta, the country’s private and business consumers are expected to witness a total savings of 550 million euros (USD 735 million) on electricity bills.

The package, initially known as the “to-do decree,” was introduced by Letta in June.

“There are signs of growth and recovery … but the social climate is very hard and full of difficulty. This is the greatest risk for autumn,” Letta said in a press conference on Friday.

The package is also to tackle the country’s growing unemployment rate.

Italy started to experience recession after its economy contracted by 0.2 percent in the third quarter of 2011 and by 0.7 percent in the year’s fourth quarter. Over the past decade, Italy has been the slowest growing economy in the eurozone.

The worsening financial situation has forced EU governments to adopt harsh austerity measures and tough economic reforms, triggering incidents of social unrest and massive protests in many European countries.

Italians have been staging protests against high unemployment, economic adversity, and hardship over a series of government-imposed austerity packages in the recent years.


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