Report: Berlusconi to Seek Vote on Economic Measures

Posted November 3rd, 2011 at 1:10 pm (UTC-5)
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Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has promised European members of the Group of 20 leading economies that lawmakers will soon hold a vote on new measures to deal with Italy’s economic problems.

According to an Italian official at the G20 summit Thursday, Mr. Berlusconi said his government will submit new cost-cutting plans to the Italian Senate as soon as Tuesday. He said he expects senators to vote on the measures within 15 days.

The plans are said to include real estate privatization, new rules on infrastructure spending, and increasing the retirement age to 67 by 2026.

Mr. Berlusconi attended the G20 summit in Cannes, France, Thursday without the emergency decree he had sought from his government to seek help coping with Italy’s deep public debt.

There was no agreement on such contentious issues as labor market reform and a tax on the wealthy.

Mr. Berlusconi has been under pressure to step down over his handling of the Italian financial crisis and a sex scandal.

President Giorgio Napolitano has even spoken out, saying earlier this week that he is communicating with opposition supporters, in a hint that he may support formation of an emergency government.

Mr. Berlusconi has said that Italy is applying solutions that will help the country cut its deficit by 2013. But Italy’s public debt is equivalent to 120 percent of gross domestic product, and its economic growth is sluggish.

After Greece, Italy and Spain are the most threatened by the financial crisis in the eurozone.