Italy’s new Prime Minister, Mario Monti, proposed his plan of austerity measures today amidst anti-austerity protesters.
Monti said that he wants to balance Italy’s budget, promote growth, and cut down on social disparities according to CNN. He also claims he will fight tax evasion, crack down on organized crime and change Italy’s pension system. Monti hopes dialogue and cooperation can help pass the austerity measures.
“The margins for success are so reduced after years of battling in national politics. If we know how to… start a constructive dialogue, we will have the opportunity to save the country and reestablish credibility in its institutions,” said Monti.
Monti has said that this is the worst crisis Italy has been in since World War II and cooperation will be needed to pass these austerity bills, according to AP. His main three pillars to get Italy back on track are budgetary rigor, economic growth, and social fairness according to AP.
Even though he was greeted with much applause during his speech students have begun to protest in the financial capital of Milan, and riot police have struggled to reach the Bocconi University where Monti presides, according to AP.
Students have demonstrated across the slogan of “Save the schools, not the banks,” according to AP. Former Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi, voiced an opposition to Monti’s renewal of taxes on homes that Berlusconi had abolished, according to AP. Berlusconi said it would create a “negative psychological” impact on the development of Italy, according to AP.
Berlusconi’s comments come after European leaders demanded his removal from seat because he could not pass the austerity measures needed in Italy. This caused Monti, a former member of the European Commission, to form a one-day-old government consisting of bankers and business executives that won the vote of confidence needed by the senate by a majority vote of 281-25, according to AP.
Protester, Titti Mazzacane, was skeptical about how the technocratic government was handling the economic issues of Italy, according to AP.
“Monti chose ‘decent and competent people,’ (but his government) is a little bit too free-market liberal. I am a bit scared," said Mazzacane.
Italy is the third largest economic market in the Euro’s 17 countries. It is too big to be bailed out and Stefano Folli, a political commentator for business daily says that Monti’s government gives a political framework to Italy, according to The New York Times.
“…it (Italy) intends to play its role in Europe to the end and that Italians will have to make fairly serious sacrifices, but that those will be compensated for by a government that wants to restore a sense of the state and trust in institutions,” said Folli.
Monti says that he hopes being upfront and apolitical will help to get his austerity measures passed by Italy’s parliament, and get the people of Italy to understand the reaching affects of the economic crisis in Italy, according to The New York Times.