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Monti government to target privileged

New premier will look to those who've 'given less'

18 November, 17:16
Monti government to target privileged (see related story on vote) (ANSA) - Rome, November 18 - New Premier Mario Monti said he would target privileged sections of Italian society as he tries to steer Italy out of its debt crisis after his emergency government became operative on Friday by winning a confidence vote in the House.

''We'll work so that the efforts in terms of taxes and modernization are asked of those groups who have given less up to now,'' the former European commissioner said after the second of two confidence votes his administration needed in parliament.

Monti stepped in to lead an emergency government of non-political experts tasked with implementing EU-mandated reforms after Silvio Berlusconi quit as premier last week, largely because the financial markets had lost faith in his centre-right government's ability to solve the crisis.

The measures Monti aims to pass measures to boost economic growth and cut a huge public debt of 120% of GDP, including spending cuts, state-asset sales, pension reforms, reintroducing a property tax dropped by Berlusconi and freeing up the labour market to help young people find jobs.

Monti has repeated said ''fairness'' will be one of the watchwords of his government and he stressed on Friday that he would seek the approval of trade unions and business associations for his policies.

''Everything possible will be done to have the consent of the social partners as talks with them have got off on the right foot over the last few days'' he said.

Monti said he would meet German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy in Strasbourg on Thursday to discuss the escalating eurozone crisis.

It will be Monti's first meeting with the two leaders since he became Italian premier.

''Yesterday we had a long conversation about the problems of Europe and the EU in general,'' he said.

''They encouraged me in my work with the government and we started to exchange our first ideas''. Berlusconi's People of Freedom (PdL) party is supporting Monti's administration and so are the main parties who were in opposition, the centre-left Democratic Party (PD) and a coalition of centrist parties calling themselves the 'Third Pole'.

The Northern League, the PdL's key ally in the outgoing government, has said it may vote in favour of individual measures the government proposes.

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