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Italian president signs gov't austerity decree

(Xinhua)

14:05, December 07, 2011

ROME, Dec. 6 (Xinhua) -- Italian President Giorgio Napolitano has approved a decree authorizing Prime Minister Mario Monti's 30-billion-euro austerity package, Ansa news agency reported Tuesday.

The measures include a 10,600-euro tax incentive for small-and-medium firms that give women and young people under the age of 35 permanent jobs and a new tax on capital brought back to Italy after being held illegally abroad.

The Italian parliament passed a controversial tax amnesty on undeclared funds held overseas in October 2009. At the time former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said the repatriation of an estimated 300 billion euros would boost state revenues.

But Monti told parliament on Monday that the austerity measures approved by cabinet on Sunday contained "painful" sacrifices for all social groups.

He said if the measures were not adopted, Italy would risk "falling into the abyss" and face the economic collapse.

Other measures include raising the pension age and the reintroduction of a property tax which was abolished by Berlusconi's center-right government.

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