The new Prime Minister of Italy, Mario Monti, unveiled his plans to solve the country’s economic crisis on Thursday.
Monti, a former EU commissioner, has said that austerity measures are absolutely necessary but will be offset by economic growth and a move towards breaking down social inequalities.
Future of the euro
Monti told senators in Rome that “the future of the euro depends on what Italy will do in the next few weeks.”
The new Prime Minister has his work cut out for him, as he is expected to stabilise the country’s mammoth budget deficit within weeks and mobilise his new government.
Monti’s cabinet was formed just days ago, in the aftermath of the resignation by center-right former PM, Silvio Berlusconi, and the collapse of his government from market pressure.
Italy’s new Prime Minister has been pushing unity and cooperation within his new government, which will be subject to a confidence vote by the Italian Senate.
“Only if we can avoid being seen as the weak link of Europe can we contribute to European reforms,” said Monti, saying that the key to dealing with Italy’s emergency is by adopting a “united spirit.”
He also said that he plans to overhaul the Italian pensions system, which he said was rife with inconsistencies that made some sectors have “unjustified privileges” while others suffered from the disparity.
Additionally, the new government plans to crack down on tax evasion and propose new austerity measures in the taxation system.
He also wants to introduce incentives that would see companies hiring more women and young people, two demographics hardest hit when unemployment rates surged.
Monti also said that though the new taxes and reformed pensions system may ruffle the feathers by those who are left worse off by the new government, not reforming the system will fail Italians much more.
“We will be subjected to much harsher conditions,” said the PM, if Italy does not enact reforms to save its economy.
On the subject of Europe, Monti explained that Italy does not view European obligations to austerity as being forced by an outside regime. Putting it simply, the Prime Minister said “We are Europe,” and that the rush for a solution to the debt crisis is not one side fighting another.