Italy vows to meet ECB demands for economic reforms
12.08.2011 | source: Makfax
Italian Economy Minister Giulio Tremonti says his country will meet the European Central Bank's demands for sweeping economic reforms in exchange for help in shielding Italy from the euro zone debt crisis.
Tremonti told a parliamentary committee that the government was ready to take steps to liberalize the economy but was still working out detailed plans for balancing the budget by 2013.
"We have to pass a very strong fiscal adjustment package for this year and 2012 and for the following year, 2013," he said. "The detailed numbers are currently being worked out.
"The political choice on how to re-focus efforts on 2012 and 2013 is a choice we still have to make," he said, adding that plans would be presented at the next cabinet meeting.
Tremonti said partners including the European Central Bank, which wrote to the government, as well as France and Germany had suggested and appreciated the goal of bringing forward budget plans and had also called for extra measures to spur growth.
These included full liberalization of local public services and the professions, more flexible job contracts, easier hiring and firing rules to free up the rigid labor market and cuts to public sector pay.
In addition, they had proposed increasing the retirement age for women employees in the private sector and a change in rules on when workers can retire based on their pension contributions.
The proposals on hiring and firing and cuts to public sector salaries were currently not in the government's plans, but he added that there was a need for action on freeing up the economy as well as cutting the cost of government.