Berlusconi faces criticism over Italian austerity plan

City A.M. Reporter
ITALY’S second austerity package in less than a month met with a chorus of criticism a day after becoming law, with the largest union federation threatening a general strike over the “injustice” of the measures.

President Giorgio Napolitano on Saturday signed the emergency decree introducing sweeping austerity measures to cut the fiscal deficit by some €45.5bn (£40bn) and balance the budget in 2013, a year ahead of its previous schedule.

“A missed opportunity,” was the comment by the chief economist of the OECD, Pier Carlo Padoan.

Padoan said the plan was positive in the pledge to bring forward the balanced budget but it lacked measures to boost growth and tackle tax evasion. Employers’ lobby Confindustria estimates Italy’s tax evasion totals €120bn.