Arab Today, arab today italian senate debating austerity measures
Last Updated : GMT 08:53:10
Arab Today, arab today
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Italian Senate debating austerity measures

Arab Today, arab today

Arab Today, arab today Italian Senate debating austerity measures

Rome - UPI

The Italian Senate Friday passed a package of austerity measures designed to avert a eurozone meltdown, officials said.The package, which raises the retirement age and tweaks the country\'s inflexible labor laws, passed with 158 votes and moved to the House, where it is expected to be approved Saturday, the ANSA news service reported.Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has promised to resign after Parliament approves the measures demanded by the European Union.Mario Monti, whose experience challenging entrenched powers as the European Commission\'s top European antitrust enforcement official includes staring down General Electric Co. and Microsoft Corp., was widely expected to be named prime minister this weekend, charged with forming a new \"unity government\" to steer Italy out of its mushrooming debt crisis.A government largely of technocrats could be in place before markets open Monday, analysts said early Friday.Monti and President Giorgio Napolitano met Thursday night at the Quirinal Palace, the president\'s official residence, which housed 30 popes, four kings and 10 presidents before him.Napolitano received a phone call from U.S. President Barack Obama, the White House said. Obama expressed \"confidence in President Napolitano\'s leadership\" and offered his support for Napolitano\'s \"decisive action at this challenging time,\" the White House said.Besides austerity measures -- intended to ease fears the country was heading toward a default that would jeopardize the euro and potentially wreak havoc on the global economy -- the bill before Parliament abolishes mandatory fees for lawyers, architects and other professionals and lets them set up their services on an incorporated basis. Both changes seek to tackle guild-like structures in the professions that limit job access, The Wall Street Journal reported.The austerity package also spells out tax breaks for employers who hire women and young people and gives incentives to local authorities to privatize public-service companies in industries such as sanitation and transportation.

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