Left Wing, Unions Stall Italian Labor Reforms

Italy’s technocratic cabinet on Friday decided to forego speedy implementation of labor market reforms in the face of resistance from trade unions and left-wing members of parliament.

The reform measures, which should make it easier for companies to fire workers and lift restrictions on a number of professions, will be submitted as a regular draft bill to parliament which means it could take months to implement. Had the government opted for an emergency decree procedure, it could have made the changes law within sixty days.

The retreat is a setback for Prime Minister Mario Monti who had so far managed to enact austerity and pension reform measures with broad parliamentary consent. The former European commissioner who was tasked to lead Italy in November of last year has run into stronger resistance over labor reforms which opponents say could trigger a wave of layoffs. Read more “Left Wing, Unions Stall Italian Labor Reforms”

Monti Asks Europe to Recognize Italy’s “Sacrifices”

Italy’s prime minister Mario Monti complained on Wednesday that other European nations do not seem to appreciate the difficult austerity measures that his government is enacting.

“Despite these sacrifices, we do not see concessions from the EU, such as in the form of lowered interest rates,” he told a German newspaper. Read more “Monti Asks Europe to Recognize Italy’s “Sacrifices””

Italy’s Monti Defends New Austerity Measures

Italy’s prime minister Mario Monti defended a new austerity package in parliament on Monday. He said that his cabinet of technocrats was prepared “to do what it has to do but Europe must not fail to do its part.”

Monti, who assumed the premiership after Silvio Berlusconi resigned last month, referred to a comprehensive European fiscal reform effort that is spearheaded by Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany and President Nicolas Sarkozy of France who met in Paris the same day. Read more “Italy’s Monti Defends New Austerity Measures”