Martedì, 16 Ottobre 2018
ROME

Letta satisfied as G8 focuses on growth, jobs

English
© ANSA

(By Kate Carlisle)
Rome, June 18 - Italian Premier Enrico Letta said
he was satisfied at the end of a two-day G8 summit in Northern
Ireland at which leaders agreed on the need to promote economic
growth and fight unemployment - top priorities for his
government.
The summit also saw agreements on fighting tax evasion and
money laundering, while how to solve the conflict in Syria
continued to divide Russia and the West.
Letta said that "a great umbrella of agreements,
understandings and strategies that push forward the policies of
my government" had emerged at the summit.
Leaders said in an end-of-summit statement that "an urgent
priority is to promote growth and jobs, especially for young
people and the long-term unemployed.
Letta was encouraged by United States President Barack
Obama's dedication to press the issue of youth unemployment.
"I noticed American President Obama is paying great
attention to youth unemployment," Letta, who met Obama for a
tete-a-tete Monday, told a press conference at the end of the
two-day G8 summit.
"The fact that President Obama agrees on this is very
important for me".
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.
A major EU summit in Brussels later this month will focus
on this issue after Letta insisted it be at the top of the
agenda.
On Monday, Italian MP Dario Franceschini, a Democratic
Party (PD) member like Letta, said combatting youth unemployment
was more of a priority than IMU and VAT tax issues, with around
four out of 10 Italians aged 15-to-24 out of work.
Silvio Berlusconi's People of Freedom Party (PdL) has
threatened to pull its support and sink Letta's broad coalition
government if it fails to scrap the unpopular IMU property tax
and refund the revenues raised from it in 2012 to respect the
key pledge the ex-premier made in the election campaign.
The centre-right PdL also wants to avert a rise in
the top band of value added tax (VAT), from 21% to 22%, that is
scheduled for July after being put in place by former premier
Mario Monti's technocrat administration.
World leaders attending the G8 summit announced several
agreements relating to taxes like fighting evasion and money
laundering.
Governments said that they signed an agreement to give
each other automatic access to information on their residents'
tax affairs and requiring shell companies to identify their real
owners.
The Italian government said on Monday that it remained
committed to waging war on rampant tax evasion in Italy, saying
it was necessary for "social justice".
A summit between Italian and Russian leaders will take
place in the northern city of Trieste this autumn, Letta said.
Sources said that Letta met with Russian President Vladimir
Putin late Monday, when the leaders discussed an upcoming G20
meeting in September in St Petersburg and a bilateral conference
on Italian-Russian relations.
Putin also reportedly invited Letta to visit Moscow.
How to solve the conflict in Syria continued to divide
Russia and the West during the summit.
The most the G8 leaders could all agree to was "to strongly
support the proposal for a conference on reaching a political
solution" to the conflict "as soon as possible".
Russia, which has arms contracts and other trade ties with
the Syrian government, supports Assad.
The Italian premier said that he will be in London July
16-17 to meet British Prime Minister David Cameron with the UK's
membership of the European Union among the issues to be tackled.
Cameron has said he wants Britain to stay in the EU, but
only if it is reformed, and plans to hold a referendum on
membership if he is re-elected at the next general election.
"It's a good thing that Great Britain stays on board,"
Letta said.
"The main issue (at the London meeting) will be how to tell
the English that it's important for us that Great Britain
remains in the EU.
"The EU would not be better without Britain, on the
contrary, it would be worse".
"I return to Italy charged with positive energy, both from
the G8 meetings and the bilateral meetings and the agreements
that came out of them," Letta concluded.

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