Venerdì, 19 Ottobre 2018

Letta defends record after 100 tumultuous days in power


(By Paul Virgo)
Rome, August 6 - Premier Enrico Letta on Tuesday
defended the record of his left-right coalition government after
100 tumultuous days in power, with some doubting whether the
executive will make it to celebrate 200 days.
The government is based on an unnatural alliance between
traditional foes - Letta's own centre-left Democratic Party (PD)
and ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi's centre-right People of
Freedom (PdL).
The administration has been hampered by internal divisions
since it was sworn in in April to end two months of political
deadlock following February's inconclusive general election.
And it may be in danger of collapsing after a tax fraud
verdict against Berlusconi was upheld by the supreme court last
But the 46-year-old premier stressed that the government
can and must keep working, with economic data suggesting the
country is close to emerging from its longest recession in over
two decades.
"We 100 days behind us, ahead we have the responsibility to
keep going with even more determination to do well," Letta wrote
in a report on his first 100 days in power.
"The signs are all there and they say we are a step away
from reversing the trend and coming out of the darkest, most
dramatic crisis today's generations have ever experienced.
"We have to give our all... The Italian people understand
that there's no alternative, not to this government, but to the
need to put aside opposing positions to have stability.
"We'll move forward with determination, concentrating more
and more on policy, precisely when political clashes seem to get
white hot.
"We knew it would not be easy from the start. Twenty years
of tough, muscular confrontation have left their marks and
"But the government's measures and the patient, incisive
work in parliament show that it's possible to work for Italy,
thinking of the future".
Letta has been criticised by many, including some fellow PD
members, for the way his government has put off some important
Cited as an example is the decision to postpone the June
payment of a property tax Berlusconi has demanded be scrapped
and a 1% rise in value added tax (VAT) that had been scheduled
to come into effect in July.
But the premier pledged Monday that these issues will be
resolved by the end of the month, as the Economy Minister
Fabrizio Saccomanni seeks to find ways to scrap IMU, the
property tax, an avert the 1% rise in VAT without reneging on
Italy's commitment to the EU to keep its deficit-to-GDP ratio
under 3%.
Letta can also point to some achievements.
His government has survived two confidence votes in
parliament and presented a decree of measures to promote growth,
which frees up around three billion euros for public works
projects this year.
Another decree, which is being examined in the Lower House
after approval last month in the Senate, contains measures aimed
at combatting rampant youth unemployment in Italy.
Italy's jobless rate is over 12% and around four in 10
young people aged 15-24 are out of work.
The package is aimed at the under-30s worse equipped
to face up to the effects of the recession, such as those
without a high-school diploma, those living alone and those who
have another person depending on them.
The government has also presented legislation to phase out
public funding of political parties over three years.
But Beppe Grillo, the leader of the anti-establishment
5-Star Movement, is not impressed.
"Letta's 100 days (in power) have produced nothing at a
time when immediate, strong action was needed to revive the
economy, protect families in hardship and negotiate our position
in Europe," Grillo said in his blog, which gave life to the
Internet-based M5S in 2009.
"Before the government was sworn in there was talk of the
need to work fast, as fast as possible," said the
comedian-turned-polician, whose movement captured around a
quarter of the vote in February.
"Then there was silence, delay, announcements".

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