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Italian parliament clears emergency budget plan


10:11, September 15, 2011

ROME, Sept. 14 (Xinhua) -- The Italian Parliament definitely cleared on Wednesday a 54-billion-euro emergency budget plan aimed at balancing public finances by 2013 to shield the country from the risk of a debt crisis.

The Lower House approved the document with 314 yes and 300 no votes. Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, who took part in the final session, had placed a vote of confidence on the text in an attempt to speed up its approval and send a positive message to world markets.

The document, endorsed last week by the Senate, contained enhanced budgetary measures introduced by the government following requests by the European Central Bank (ECB) to tighten-up fiscal discipline and secure public finances, necessary to reassure global markets on the country's financial stability.

The package, seen as vital to cut down the euro zone's third largest economy's debt levels, envisages a mix of public spending cuts, higher taxes, a reduction in political costs, number of local authorities and a new pension reform.

During the final vote, social riots and violent protests broke out outside the parliament by dissenters who deemed the budget as "unfair".

Prior to the summer, Berlusconi's center-right government had initially approved a 47-billion-euro (66 billion dollars) budget, later deemed as insufficient in the wake of the debt crisis looming over Europe.


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