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Jun 3, 2014

Italy’s economy minister warns against “sterile” austerity debate

ROME, June 3 (Reuters) – Europe risks being trapped in a
“sterile” debate over austerity unless it takes a broader view
that balances the need for sound public finances with reform,
Italian Economy Minister Pier Carlo Padoan said on Tuesday.

Italy, which assumes the rotating presidency of the European
Union in July, has long sought to shift the policy debate in
Europe away from budget rigour and towards measures to boost
economic growth and create jobs.

May 30, 2014

Drop in Italian, Spanish inflation feeds euro zone deflation worries

MADRID/ROME, May 30 (Reuters) – Annual consumer inflation
slowed in Italy and Spain in May, heightening concerns about
deflation risk in the euro zone as the bloc’s central bank gears
up for an expected growth-boosting shift in monetary policy next
week.

Italy’s EU-harmonised inflation rate eased to a
weaker-than-expected 0.4 percent year-on-year from 0.5 percent
in April, statistics office ISTAT said in Rome.

May 26, 2014

Renzi’s triumph in EU vote gives mandate for Italian reform

ROME (Reuters) – Strengthened by a landslide victory in Sunday’s European election, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi has a clear mandate to push economic and institutional reforms in Rome and promote his pro-growth agenda in Brussels.

More than 40.8 percent of Italy’s 27.3 million voters cast ballots for the center-left Democratic Party, almost double the 21.2 percent who chose the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement, the second-biggest party, according to official figures.

May 26, 2014

Italy’s Renzi triumphs in EU vote as Grillo loses ground

ROME (Reuters) – Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi was on course for a sweeping victory in Sunday’s European election with voter projections giving his center-left Democratic Party (PD) a huge lead over the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement of ex-comic Beppe Grillo.

With more than half the vote counted, a projection by IPR Marketing for RAI state television put the PD on 41.2 percent, well ahead of the 5-Star Movement on 21.4 percent with former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia party on 16.6 percent.

May 25, 2014

Italy’s Renzi ahead of Grillo in EU vote-projections

ROME (Reuters) – Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi was on course for a triumph in Sunday’s European election with early projections giving his center-left Democratic Party (PD) a strong lead over the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement of ex-comic Beppe Grillo.

A projection by IPR Marketing for RAI state television put the PD on 41.4 percent ahead of the 5-Star Movement on 22.4 percent with former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia party on 15.7 percent.

May 18, 2014

Italy’s Renzi faces Grillo challenge ahead of EU election

ROME (Reuters) – Next week’s European parliamentary elections have turned into a showdown between Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and the anti-establishment movement of comic Beppe Grillo that could decide the future of the government.

The ballot on May 25 will be the first national election ever faced by the 39-year-old Renzi, who came to power in February after a party coup which forced out his predecessor Enrico Letta.

May 14, 2014

Italy’s Berlusconi says he was forced out by EU ‘plot’

ROME (Reuters) – Former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi repeated accusations on Wednesday that he had been forced out of office at the height of the euro zone crisis in 2011 as the result of a plot by European Union officials.

Berlusconi’s comments followed the publication of a book by former U.S. treasury secretary Timothy Geithner which suggested that the U.S. government had been asked to help force Berlusconi to resign as the crisis escalated in late 2011.

May 12, 2014

Migrant boat carrying hundreds sinks south of Sicily, at least 14 dead

ROME (Reuters) – Italian naval and coast guard vessels recovered 14 bodies and rescued around 200 people after a migrant boat sank in the sea between Libya and southern Sicily, authorities said on Monday, a day after dozens were drowned in a similar incident.

Italy has struggled for decades with a stream of migrants travelling in small, unsafe boats from North Africa to the islet of Lampedusa, midway between Tunisia and Sicily. The influx of migrants has grown since the Arab Spring upheavals of 2011 and the protracted civil war in Syria.

May 11, 2014

Italy grapples with specter of corruption as EU vote nears

ROME (Reuters) – A corruption scandal surrounding next year’s Expo 2015 in Milan and separate criminal cases involving allies of former premier Silvio Berlusconi look set to fuel voter anger at this month’s European elections, Italian politicians warned on Sunday.

Even for a country long inured to scandal, the arrest last week of seven officials connected with Expo 2015 Milan, including the event’s procurement head, on charges of bribery and manipulating public tenders has caused anger.

May 9, 2014

EU candidates say national governments must respect vote

FLORENCE, Italy (Reuters) – Candidates to lead the European Commission after EU parliamentary elections this month lashed out on Friday against suggestions that the real choice would be made not by voters but by national governments.

The meeting in Florence was the second between the candidates following their first debate in April, part of a broader effort to bring an element of direct democracy to appointing one of the European Union’s top officials.