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Italy's Prodi vows reforms for 2007 after drop in popularity

Italy's Prodi vows reforms for 2007 after drop in popularity

Italian Premier Romano Prodi, who suffered a drop in popularity over a contentious 2007 budget, said Thursday that his government will push sweeping reforms next year to streamline Italy's economy, improve competitiveness and boost growth.
Speaking at a year-end news conference, Prodi said Italy would seek to attract foreign investors and revitalize the economy by reducing bureaucratic constraints and making it possible "to open a company in one day."
Prodi also vowed to carry on with reforms to liberalize the economy. "No area can be protected from competition," he said.
The reforms are a key part of the government's efforts to turn around the euro zone's third-largest economy, which has been crippled by lack of competition. Measures presented this year to liberalize various sectors _ including law firms, taxi companies, pharmacies and bakeries _ were met with fierce protests, forcing the government to water down some of its proposals.
The center-left government, which in April elections ousted Silvio Berlusconi's conservatives, faced even harsher opposition over euro35 billion (US$46 billion) in revenue-raising measures and spending cuts included in its 2007 budget.
The budget, which won final approval in parliament last week, was criticized in Italy and abroad as relying too much on higher taxes and not enough on even more drastic spending cuts.
Analysts say the budget caused the sharp drop in popularity for the premier and his government shown by recent surveys.


Updated : 2021-04-20 13:05 GMT+08:00