Tuesday, April 16, 2024


Dhaka Tribune

New Italy PM Letta wins final confidence vote

Update : 30 Apr 2013, 12:41 PM

New Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta won a final confidence vote in his broad coalition government on Tuesday before setting off on a European tour to push his agenda of growth rather than austerity to revive the recession-hit economy.

Even before departure, Letta came under pressure from the partners in his right-left government to re-negotiate Rome’s commitment to keeping its budget within European Union rules. It was an early indication of the difficult juggling act he faces at the head of an uneasy coalition.

Letta, who was sworn in on Sunday, easily won a confidence vote in the Senate after a similar victory in the lower house on Monday.

He immediately set off for Berlin to meet Chancellor Angela Merkel, the champion of Europe’s increasingly unpopular tight budget policies.

On Wednesday, Letta travels to Paris where he is likely to find an ally in French President Francois Hollande, who is also pushing for a switch of emphasis towards growth rather than austerity. Letta will go to Brussels, where he plans talks with European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso.

The 46-year-old Letta took the helm of an economy, the euro zone’s third biggest, in the midst of a severe crisis, with unemployment at 20-year highs and the recession, already matching the longest since World War Two, seen dragging on all year.

In a sign of the intense pressure he will face, four-times Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi threatened to pull his centre-right People of Freedom party out of the coalition if it does not abolish an unpopular housing tax.

Berlusconi, who is not in cabinet but is playing a decisive role behind the scenes, added that the government must re-negotiate EU deficit commitments, echoing similar comments made earlier by two of Letta’s own ministers.

Top Brokers


Popular Links