Italian Prime Minister, Mario Monti, finally sees his 33 billion euro austerity package definitively approved by the Italian parliament.
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Monti says Italy and its European neighbors now need to pursue growth.
“A more united Europe, in which member states commit to following strict regulations and are open to shared control, also needs to have greater solidarity, be closer to the needs of its citizens.”
Monti has argued that restoring markets’ confidence in Italy will help the rest of the eurozone.
But the severe nature of his austerity package has seen his popularity rating fall to 46% from 61% the previous week, according to a poll published in an Italian newspaper.
James Walston, from the American University in Rome, says he’s not just facing pressure from opposition parties.
“Italian politicians are not free to do what they want. They have huge pressure from the markets. They have huge pressure from external forces and internal forces as well.”
Monti has called on Italians to buy their country’s bonds to help the recovery.
It was hoped that some of the massive 489 billion euros European banks borrowed from the European Central Bank on Wednesday would be used to buy Italian and Spanish debt, as well as helping to prevent another credit crunch.
Now managers at Italy’s two top banks, Unicredit and Intesa Sanpaolo, have told Italian newspapers they’re going to use the loan to help fund Italian industry and families.
Italian firms and citzens certainly need the help.
Some economists warn the austerity pacakge will dampen the prospects for the economic growth that’s so desperately needed.