Italy faces a tough year ahead
Islam Times - After a series of dramatic turn of events in November and December, which included the resignation of Silvio Berlusconi and the appointment of a technocrat government, the New Year started under worrying auspices for many Italians.
The country is on the verge of recession and the Monti-led government has not yet announced the phase-two of its so-called 'Save Italy' plan. The plan should also include a radical reform of the labor market that will inevitably trigger discontent among business sectors and even more controversy in the political arena.
The national energy authority has announced that electricity and gas costs will rise respectively by 4.9% and 2.7%. As a consequence of these power bill hikes, the average Italian family will spend 54 more Euros on its energy bills in 2012. Furthermore, since Monday, fuel costs have skyrocketed to about 1.80 euro per liter, the highest price ever recorded.
Consumers' associations lament that soaring petrol prices will cost an average 202 Euros extra per person this year. They have described the current pricing as "dramatically high" and are calling for strikes in the coming days.
Reforms should be quickly implemented, according to economists but radical changes in Italy are never easy.Trade Unions and the government are at loggerheads over the labor market and pensions reforms.
Union leaders are worried that law changes would make it easier for companies to dismiss worker.
They have warned that social tensions risk bubbling in the next few months if the government does not take Unions' concerns on board.
As for Monti, he needs to act quickly to steer the country out of the crisis.
Italians are demanding more courageous measures to cut public spending and to revive growth. If their demands were not heard by the politicians they elected will this government of appointed technocrats be responsive to the people's calls?
Story Code: 127607