MILAN (Reuters) – Europe’s priority must be to stimulate economic growth, Italy and France said on Thursday, putting themselves at odds again with Germany, which is demanding deficit rigor.
With signs of a global slowdown rattling investors and prompting sharp declines across financial markets, French President Francois Hollande and Italian Prime Minster Matteo Renzi stressed the need for expansive measures.
ROME (Reuters) – Italy reacted with shock and outrage at the chronic bureaucratic and planning failures laid bare after severe flooding hit the northwestern city of Genoa, killing one man and leaving the streets of the medieval port city buried in mud and debris.
“The mud of Genoa, shame of a country,” read the front page headline of Italy’s biggest daily newspaper Corriere della Sera on Saturday after the flooding, which occurred less than three years after torrential floods in the same city killed seven people in 2011.
ROME (Reuters) – The leader of Italy’s anti-establishment 5-Star Movement rounded off a three-day party rally on Sunday with renewed calls for a referendum on the euro and an angry attack on Prime Minister Matteo Renzi’s labor reform plans.
Beppe Grillo, the provocative former comedian who founded the 5-Star Movement and captured more than 25 percent of the vote in last year’s national election, said the party would begin a campaign to gather 3 million signatures to call a popular referendum.
MILAN (Reuters) – Hundreds of people protested against Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi’s plans to reform hiring-and-firing rules outside the congress center where European leaders were due to meet on Wednesday for a conference on jobs.
The meeting in Milan coincides with a confidence vote in parliament to push through legislation that will enable the government to alter parts of the labor code including job protection measures that are fiercely defended by unions.
ROME (Reuters) – Facing rumors that he could face pressure to quit, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi hit back on Sunday against criticism from business leaders and dared his opponents to challenge him in parliament.
“If they think they have the numbers and the right candidate, let them try it,” the 39-year-old center-left prime minister told the left-leaning La Repubblica daily.
ROME (Reuters) – The founder of Italy’s pro-devolution, anti-immigrant Northern League expressed bitter disappointment at the result of the Scottish independence referendum and said voters had been intimidated by the media.
Umberto Bossi, who created the movement for autonomy for Italy’s rich northern regions in the 1980s and was a longstanding ally of former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, said he had followed the Scottish independence debate closely.
ROME (Reuters) – Prime Minister Matteo Renzi said on Tuesday he would force through changes to Italy’s labor laws with special emergency measures if parliament dragged its feet, and rejected criticism his government was moving too slowly with its reform agenda.
Renzi, under growing pressure to back his promises with action, said that reforms to an unjust labor system that divided Italian workers into “first division” and “second division” categories would be at the heart of the program.
MILAN (Reuters) – Euro zone finance ministers on Friday backed Ireland’s plan to repay part of its 2010 bailout package early, making it likely that Dublin can start paying some 18 billion euros (23.24 billion US dollar) of loans from the International Monetary Fund by the end of the year.
Dublin has been pushing to pay back loans from the IMF early to lower its debt servicing costs after a successful return to the bond markets but needs approval from all creditors, including the European Union, before it can go ahead with the plan.
MILAN Italy (Reuters) – Euro zone finance ministers cast around on Friday for ways to revive the bloc’s stagnating economy as their post-crisis strategy of budget rigor was left in tatters by France’s admission it needs two more years to put its finances in order.
Investment is the new buzz word among ministers, overriding the German mantra of budget cuts, which were meant to reduce swollen public finances and win back investors. Instead, they have been blamed for suffocating the fragile economic recovery.
CERNOBBIO Italy (Reuters) – The annual meeting of Italy’s business elite on the shores of Lake Como was – again – dominated by calls for reforms and gloomy discussion of an economic crisis now well into its sixth year.
With Italy’s economy back in recession, business leaders sounded a note of impatience for Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, the energetic 39-year-old who took office in February, to get on with the task.