“Easier dismissals to please EU”, headlines La Stampa after yesterday’s euro crisis summit in Brussels. New measures submitted by Berlusconi to his EU partners include a sell off of Italian state-assets - raising 5 billion euros annually over the next three years, pushing retirement age up to 67 from 2026 (currently 60 or 61 for women and 65 for men) and, most of all, loosening up labour laws. According to the new plan, workers on permanent contracts can be fired if the company can prove financial difficulty.
European leaders were pleased by these Italian efforts but have also demanded a “forthcoming schedule” and a strict “compliance with obligations”. Meanwhile, Italian opposition parties and unions reacted violently to the dismissals plan. “Their opposition is already worrying the EU”, notes Corriere della Sera. Indeed, Italian Parliament and Senate are shortly to vote on Berlusconi’s austerity package but his government may well be too weak. On October 26, it was defeated twice at the Parliament. “Where will Berlusconi find the house majorities to approve the plan?”, comments La Stampa. Rome daily La Repubblica is also sceptical about Berlusconi’s proposals: “EU demands concrete measures but Berlusconi is still making vague promises”.
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