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Italian government weighs anti-crisis decree

Italian government weighs anti-crisis decree

An Italian Cabinet meeting late Wednesday could approve some of Premier Silvio Berlusconi's proposed anti-crisis measures in the form of a decree law, putting them into effect as soon as Thursday, officials in the premier's office said.
Some of the other measures, such as reforms to make it easier to fire workers, need to be approved by parliament which can take weeks.
Fears that Italy will be the next victim of the debt crisis have been growing, with investors worried that Berlusconi's weakened government lacks the strength to enforce reforms needed to revive growth in the dormant, over-indebted economy.
European Union officials have been pressing Berlusconi to take quick action so Italy doesn't get overwhelmed by the sort of financial turmoil that pushed Greece to need a bailout.
Sky TG24 TV quoted Infrastructure Altero Matteoli as saying that a five-hour meeting at the premier's office earlier Wednesday was spent drafting the decree.
A big European plan unveiled last week sought to put a firewall around countries like Italy, which has the eurozone's third-largest economy and would be too expensive to rescue. But confidence in the country remains weak. Greece's announcement this week that it will hold a referendum on the European rescue triggered fresh turmoil on financial markets, adding market pressure on Italy.
Italy's borrowing rates continued to rise on Wednesday _ yields on its 10-year bonds rose to 6.19 percent on the secondary market, 4.34 percentage points higher than the rate on the German equivalent bond, considered the safest in Europe.
The yield is indicative of the rate the Italian government would have to pay if it raised 10-year loans from capital markets.
Bank of Italy governor Ignazio Visco urged the government to "consistently and quickly" honor its EU pledges to reduce its public debt and make structural reforms.
In a forward to the bank's November stability report, Visco said Italy's banking system had a "sound" capital position that will be strengthened, but noted that it is feeling the effect of the debt crisis and economic slowdown.


Updated : 2021-10-18 19:06 GMT+08:00