Giovedì, 18 Ottobre 2018

Letta government wins 'to do' decree confidence vote


(By Paul Virgo)
Rome, July 24 - Premier Enrico Letta's fragile
left-right government survived a big test on Wednesday when it
won a confidence vote in the Lower House regarding its 'to do'
decree of urgent measures to help revive the recession-hit
Italian economy.
The House approved the decree with 427 votes in favor and
167 against.
Letta's executive, which us made up of his centre-right
Democratic Party (PD) and ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi's
centre-right People of Freedom (PdL) party, would have collapsed
if it had failed to win the vote.
The PD and the PdL were long-standing, bitter rivals until
they decided to work together to form a government in April
after two months of deadlock following February's inconclusive
general election.
The government has experienced difficulties since because
of differences between the PD and the PdL over several issues
and there is a danger that Berlusconi's party will sink the
government if Italy's supreme Court of Cassation next week
upholds a four-year fraud sentence against the ex-premier.
But the executive has survived for now and Letta is
"The House's vote of confidence is an important signal,"
the premier said.
The 'to do' package cuts red tape and frees up around three
billion euros for public works projects this year, which should
create 30,000 temporary construction jobs.
It also allocates money to finance improvements to the
national rail network, school buildings and roads.
The measure also cuts energy bills by a total of 550
million euros, in part by slashing a tax to finance renewable
energy initiatives.
The government put the decree to a confidence vote to speed
its passage through parliament after hundreds of amendments were
Opposition parties were furious at the move, which
effectively ended debate in the House on the decree, calling it
a "slap" to parliament.
The package looks set to face more hurdles before it is
approved definitively in the Senate.
Last month Letta's administration passed its first
confidence-vote test in parliament when a decree on
environmental emergencies was overwhelming approved by the Lower
Letta also considered as a confidence vote Friday's
rejection by the Senate of a no-confidence motion in Deputy
Premier and Interior Minister Angelino Alfano over the
controversial expulsion of the wife and daughter of a Kazakh
Alfano is the PdL secretary and Berlusconi's party would
probably have pulled the plug on the government if the motion
had been approved.
After Wednesday's vote Letta visited the national inland
revenue agency and spoke about his government's battle against
rampant tax evasion, which he blamed for Italy losing
''If we ask ourselves why Italy is not very competitive, I
reply that it is because the underground economy is so
significant'', Letta said.
''It distorts competition and creates inefficiency''. He
also said that "taxes are too high in our country because not
everyone pays them".
The premier vowed his government would fight ''to
recuperate resources (from evaders) wherever they are, in
Switzerland or tax havens''.
He warned tax dodgers holding capital abroad that
international agreements meant the "climate is changing".
He added that it was best for them "to bring back their
money to Italy because the international situation does not
enable them to have the coverage they've had up to now".
Italy has the world's second-largest underground economy in
proportion to gross domestic product after Greece in
international rankings, the president of the national Audit
Court Luigi Giampaolino said last month.
The size of the economy outside the legal tax system is
reportedly estimated at up to 18% of national GDP. Unpaid taxes
including VAT meant that as much as 50 billion euros escaped the
taxman in 2011, Giampaolino said.

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