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Italian PM says "growth" the focus of future gov't task

(Xinhua)

21:15, December 23, 2011

ROME, Dec. 22 (Xinhua) -- Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti said Thursday that "phase two" of the emergency government's task would be "all about growth."

Speaking ahead of final approval of a 30-billion-euro austerity (39 billion U.S. dollars) package by parliament, Monti told Senate that the New Year would bring several moves to stoke growth in Italy's flagging economy, including liberalizations and lowering taxes on businesses.

He stressed the importance of working with "the social partners," especially the trade unions, who have repeatedly baulked at talk of revising a key prevision in the 1970 Workers' Statute that says workers fired without just cause must be reinstated, according to ANSA news agency.

The prime minister repeated that labor-market reform to open up places for women and young people, a third of whom are jobless, was a high priority for his government. He also said new benefits for those who lose their jobs should be introduced.

"The phase that now opens will focus on the labor market and job-loss support," Monti said.

"It will be necessary and possible to proceed in a different way from that hitherto used with the political and social groups because the labor market, by its nature, requires greater dialogue with social partners," Monti told the Senate.

The Monti government also stressed that it was determined to take on vested interests and lobbies in opening up the Italian economy to more competition.

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