Lunedì, 24 Settembre 2018
LOUGH ERNE

Letta meets Obama as G8 gets down to work

English
© ANSA

(By Christopher Livesay)
Lough Erne, June 17 - In his first-ever tete-a-tete
with Italian Premier Enrico Letta, US President Barack Obama
said he intends to discuss unemployment, especially as it
affects young people, in a speech at the G8 summit in Northern
Ireland this week, according to Italian sources there Monday.
The sources said that Obama and Letta went over the rising
rate of joblessness in Italy, the eurozone and elsewhere in the
industrialized world.
Letta has made fixing youth unemployment a keystone of his
premiership, pushing the issue at several EU meetings since he
assumed the head of the government in April.
Leaders from the world's eight biggest economies this week
are also scheduled to tackle economic growth and fighting tax
evasion, while Syria's conflict is set to dominate the
gathering.
According to Italian delegates, Obama told Letta in their
meeting that he was "very concerned about the situation in
Syria," especially about "the use of chemical weapons".
On Thursday the Obama administration cited the use of
chemical weapons by the Syrian government as justification for
deciding to supply military support to rebel forces.
All eyes are thus on Obama and Russian leader Vladimir
Putini, who has continued to support the Bashar Assad regime and
defy pleas to cease from the US and the international community.
On Monday, Pope Francis wrote to the summit's host, British
Prime Minister David Cameron, calling on G8 leaders to work
towards a ceasefire in Syria and to bring all parties involved
in the conflict to the negotiating table.
Before arriving at the summit, Putin said in London that no
weapons should be provided to rebels "who are eating the
internal organs of enemies", referring to a recent video showing
a rebel apparently cutting out the heart and liver of a Syrian
soldier and biting into the heart.
As for the topic of tax evasion, Italian Economy Minister
Fabrizio Saccomanni presented a foretaste of his country's
position in Rome.
The government, he said, remained committed to waging war
on rampant tax evasion, adding it was necessary for "social
justice".
But he also stressed that the tax authorities had to
account for honest people who were having trouble paying tax
bills as Italy struggles with its longest recession in over 20
years.
Tax collectors for the Equitalia agency, which takes action
to recover outstanding tax revenues, have become hate figures
during the recession and its offices in many parts of the
country have come under a series of attacks.
At the weekend the government approved a decree which
stipulated that Equitalia cannot take possession of people's
main residences for outstanding tax bills, unless these homes
have an exceptionally high market value.
"In a period in which the Italian people have to face
sacrifices on a daily basis, tenacious pursuit of evaders and
the facilitation of fiscal obligations for honest taxpayers are
important initiatives for achieving greater social justice,"
Saccomanni told a meeting of finance police officers.
"The fight against tax evasion cannot be slowed down at
all, but it can and must take account of the needs of taxpayers
in difficulty".
Meanwhile in Lough Erne, Northern Ireland, Obama invited
the Italian premier to the White House, sources said.
Details and dates were not made known, but the visit is
reportedly to take place before the end of the year.

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