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Europe

Berlusconi presents his 'anti-crisis' measures to unions

Text by Alexis MASCIARELLI , in Rome

Latest update : 2008-11-25

The Italian government outlined to trade unions, on Monday night, a packet of social and tax measures to fight the current economic crisis, including a Christmas bonus of 120 euros each for the poorest families.

The Italian government has laid out its social and tax measures to fight the current economical crisis, during a meeting with the country’s trade unions on Monday evening.

The plan intends to give incentives to Italians to keep spending and therefore help the country’s industry.

A 120 euros Christmas bonus will be handed to the poorest families, who earn less than 6,000 euros per year. Financial help to pensioners and large families is also expected.

Silvio Berlusconi’s government is also planning to rule in favor of a fixed interest rate for families and to impose a freeze on the costs of electricity, gas, motorways and trains, at the start of next year.

Incentives will also be given to Italian businesses. The government is expected to reduce corporation taxes and drop taxes on the payment of extra working hours and productivity bonuses.

The value of these public intervention measures is yet to be announced. "We are still working on the specifics," said Finance Minister Giulio Tremonti.

The Italian government plan should be approved on Friday during the cabinet meeting, following the announcement on Wednesday of a European multibillion anti crisis plan and government directives from Brussels.

Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, who has been criticized recently for his lack of dialogue with the opposition, has told the trade unions representatives that he is ready « to accept advice from everyone » in order to face the economical crisis.

“The government will try to build trust but only the citizens can -- by not changing their habits -- stem the real economy crisis that is unfortunately arriving," said Berlusconi on Saturday during an electoral meeting.

Date created : 2008-11-25

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