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Jan 26, 2014

Italy minister resigns, adding to headaches for government

ROME (Reuters) – Italian Agriculture Minister Nunzia De Girolamo resigned on Sunday, following heavy criticism after she was caught on tape discussing public contracts, adding a further complication to Prime Minister Enrico Letta’s fragile coalition.

De Girolamo, a member of the small New Centre Right (NCD) party which supports Prime Minister Enrico Letta’s left-right coalition, denied any wrongdoing in the affair and said that she had quit her ministerial post to defend her dignity.

Jan 26, 2014

Italy’s Renzi faces battle in parliament on election reform

ROME (Reuters) – Italy’s center-left leader Matteo Renzi faces opposition in parliament next week over electoral reform plans agreed with Silvio Berlusconi which are being closely watched as a test of wider reforms in the euro zone’s third largest economy.

The measures are aimed at fixing a system blamed for last year’s election deadlock which left no side able to form a government and forced the two main parties of left and right into a fragile coalition that has struggled to pass reforms.

Jan 23, 2014

Italy’s Renzi flexes muscles in electoral reform drive

ROME (Reuters) – Italian center-left leader Matteo Renzi’s brisk dismissal of party critics who opposed a deal with their old nemesis Silvio Berlusconi on electoral reform has injected momentum into a political system frozen in deadlock for months.

The package now comes before parliament where a wily caste of lobbyists is long practiced in smothering ambitious reform plans in back-room amendments. But for the moment, the initiative lies with the 39-year-old mayor of Florence.

Jan 20, 2014

Italy’s Renzi outlines electoral reform plan, defies critics

ROME (Reuters) – Italian center-left leader Matteo Renzi promised on Monday to reform an electoral system blamed for creating chronic political deadlock, defying party critics who had attacked him for sealing a deal on the proposals with arch-enemy Silvio Berlusconi.

The 39-year-old mayor of Florence, who won the leadership of the Democratic Party (PD) in December, said he would eliminate the fragmentation that has made it impossible for successive Italian governments to survive a full term in office.

Jan 2, 2014

Italy’s Renzi pushes for change on election law

ROME (Reuters) – Italian center-left leader Matteo Renzi called on Thursday for swift reform of an electoral system blamed for the country’s bouts of political deadlock and said he expected an agreement could be completed within weeks.

Renzi is not in the government but as head of the Democratic Party, the biggest party in Prime Minister Enrico Letta’s left-right coalition, he will have a decisive role to play in shaping the political agenda and has already called for quicker action on reforms.

Dec 27, 2013

Italy delays ‘Google tax’ until July, OKs funds for business, welfare

ROME (Reuters) – Italy delayed the start of its planned Internet tax until July 2014, approved billions of euros in business and welfare measures and extended a ban on media cross-ownership in a final package of year-end legislation approved on Friday.

The launch of an Internet tax, sometimes dubbed the “Google tax”, passed this week by parliament, will be postponed until July, 1, 2014, Prime Minister Enrico Letta’s office said in a statement. The delay should ensure it can be more closely coordinated with other European countries.

Dec 24, 2013

Italian migrant center cleared after protests

ROME (Reuters) – Italian authorities began clearing a migrant reception center on the island of Lampedusa on Tuesday after a row over harsh living conditions that prompted detainees to sew their lips together in protest.

The facility, originally intended to house up to 850 migrants for up to 48 hours before transfer to other centers, has been steadily transformed into a long-term refugee camp where detainees are housed in overcrowded, unsanitary conditions, prompting domestic and international criticism.

Dec 23, 2013

Italy PM Letta pledges reform pact in January

ROME (Reuters) – Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta promised on Monday to present a formal coalition pact in January with reforms ranging from an overhaul of the electoral law to cuts to bureaucracy and taxes.

Letta, appointed to head a grand coalition of left and right after last February’s deadlocked elections, said 2014 would be the year in which a new generation of leaders could launch reforms to pull Italy out of two decades of stagnation.

Dec 20, 2013

Italy PM Letta says his budget can’t be everyone’s ‘Father Christmas’

ROME (Reuters) – Prime Minister Enrico Letta told critics of his 2014 budget on Friday that Italy still needed to demonstrate its credibility to wary financial markets, rejecting calls for steeper tax cuts and more measures to stimulate growth.

Speaking as the lower house of parliament in Rome passed a procedural confidence motion on the budget, Letta said the government had done all it could to help investment while maintaining control of public finances.

Dec 20, 2013

Italy PM Letta says his budget is crucial for stability

ROME, Dec 20 (Reuters) – Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta
said on Friday his government’s 2014 budget was crucial for
Italy’s stability despite it pleasing neither unions nor
business.

The lower house of Italy’s parliament is due to vote on a
confidence motion in the early afternoon with the Senate
following on Monday. The government is expected to win both
easily. Confidence motions are regularly used to speed up
legislation.