Monti hopes for no more sacrifices
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Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti said Friday he was hopeful that he would not need to ask Italians for further sacrifices and that he had “no doubt” Italy would be saved from the eurozone debt crisis.
“Will this be the last lot of sacrifices? I hope so,” he told members of parliament before his austerity plan was formally adopted by the lower house, which had overwhelmingly voted in favour of the draconian measures.
“It depends on... our ability to present ourselves to the markets as united and credible,” he said.
The former eurocrat, who stepped in after his predecessor Silvio Berlusconi was ousted in November, said he had “no doubt Italy will save itself.”
“An Italy with its public accounts in order will make its voice be heard clearly in Europe,” he said.
Italy, which is in recession and has a massive debt burden equal to 120 percent of its Gross Domestic Product, has no other choice, he said.
“It's not a matter of continuing to live more or less like before. Without these measures, Italians' savings, the wealth acquired by many generations are at risk. The risk is enormous,” he said.
“We have to do more, and we will,” he added, promising to act in the next few weeks.
Monti stressed that unlike recent austerity plans, his measures were also structural, for example with pension reform and a crackdown on tax evasion.
Despite the rush to implement the new measures, market pressure has remained high and Rome was forced to pay record rates in a bond sale this week.
Fitch Ratings agency said Friday it was reviewing the credit ratings of six eurozone countries, including Italy, which could see its A+ rating downgraded. - Sapa-AFP