Saturday, December 31, 2011

Italian president urges sacrifices to save economy

President Giorgio Napolitano on Saturday called on Italians to make sacrifices to prevent the "financial collapse of Italy".
"Sacrifices are necessary to ensure the future of young people, it's our objective and a commitment we cannot avoid," he said in a New Year's speech to the nation.

The eurozone's third largest economy, Italy sparked fears in 2011 that its toxic mix of low growth, high debt and spiralling borrowing costs could force it to seek a bailout like fellow eurozone members Greece, Ireland and Portugal.

"No-one, no social group, can today avoid the commitment to contribute to the clean up of public finances in order to prevent the financial collapse of Italy," he said.

"The sacrifices will not be in vain," he added, "especially if the economy begins to grow again."

Silvio Berlusconi's replacement by Mario Monti as prime minister in November has helped ease fears of an imminent debt implosion as the former European Union commissioner quickly put in place a tough plan of austerity measures.

But there is still concern over the plan's impact on an economy that is moving into recession after shrinking by 0.2 percent in the third quarter.

And Italy's ability to borrow on the debt markets is being closely watched as a bellwether of current confidence in the eurozone.



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