Rome - Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti moved on Tuesday to head off any attempts by political parties to water down his 30-billion-euro austerity package with amendments in Parliament, saying Italy had little time at its disposal to approve the plan.
Speaking in a prime time television interview, Monti brushed off calls from lawmakers among the parties he depends on for a majority to amend measures such as a housing tax, raising the retirement age or suspending inflation indexation of pensions.
“There is little time and the margins of flexibility are minimal,” he said when asked about the possibility of amending his proposals for pension reform.
Welfare Minister Elsa Fornero, speaking on another television talk-show, said she was willing to re-consider the de-indexation of pensions if parliament could come up with another way of finding the necessary savings.
The austerity plan, approved by the cabinet on Sunday, is immediately effective but must be passed by parliament within 60 days or it expires. It is expected to be approved before the end of the year.
Monti did not rule out calling a confidence vote on the plan to curtail discussion in parliament, saying it was “premature” to decide. He stressed the measures had been carefully weighed and “the goal is to not see them modified much”.
He said he understood the hostile reaction of Italy's main trade union confederations, which have called strikes against his plan, but he was confident Italians would see that sacrifices were necessary and the measures were fair.
“I'm sure there will be protests, and I can even consider them justified, but I'm sure that citizens will understand.”
The package was vital to avoid the risk of Italy becoming insolvent and no longer being able to pay public salaries or pensions, Monti said. - Reuters
Bravo Monti..... as the third European economy we can not behave like a "BasketCase" nation, we deserve more. Economics ahead of political opportunism. Less "chiacchere" and more action and accountability. Grazie!!
Super Mario is just another Goldmann Sachs stooge. His job is nothing more than to sell the Italians out.
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