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Italy's Letta eyes economic growth without debt

Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta on Monday said it was possible to boost economic growth without increasing public debt as the key eurozone economy struggles with a lengthy recession. Speaking ahead of a visit to Madrid, Letta also said Spain was "a natural ally to make Europe a continent that is always more attentive to growth and above all to social malaise". Letta was expected to meet his Spanish counterpart Mariano Rajoy later on Monday as part of a tour of European capitals that has already taken him to Berlin, Brussels and Paris.

Italy PM announces to scrap double pay for MPs in cabinet

Italy's new Prime Minister Enrico Letta said the government's first act would be to cut the salaries of ministers who are also members of parliament, and are therefore currently eligible for two salaries. "To lead by example, the first government act will be to cut the salaries of those ministers who are also members of parliament," he said, reacting to a growing anger in Italy over politicians' perks at a time of widespread financial difficulties. ide/ric

Gunman targeted Italian politicians, officials say

Rome, Apr 28 (EFE).- The man who opened fire Sunday in the crowded square outside the premier's office in Rome, wounding two paramilitary policemen and a female passerby, "had politicians as his target, he was not a crazy man," Italian prosecutor Pierfilippo Laviani said. "He was a man with a lot of problems who had lost his job, had lost everything, had to move back in with his family. He was desperate," the prosecutor said. The suspect was identified as 49-year-old Luigi Prieti, originally from the southern Italian region of Calabria.

European press doubts Italian coalition can last

European editorialists were sceptical that the Italian government sworn in on Sunday, an unlikely alliance of bitter rivals, could survive very long and tackle the country's economic woes. Herewith extracts from some leading European newspapers Sunday: - The government "includes parts of the left and right, and leaders who have been trading accusations and insults for years." (Diario de Noticias - Portugal) - "Nothing proves that the chemistry will work when faced with major reforms." (La Libre Belgique - Belgium)

Letta formally sworn in as Italian PM

Leftist moderate Enrico Letta was formally sworn in on Sunday as Italy's new prime minister at the head of a coalition cabinet at a ceremony lead by President Giorgio Napolitano. The cabinet's 21 ministerial posts have gone to a mix of experts and institutional figures from across the political spectrum to form a "grand coalition" which brings to an end a damaging political deadlock left by inconclusive elections. ide/lc

Italy's Letta says EU can change austerity policies

ROME (Reuters) - Italian prime minister-designate Enrico Letta said on Thursday that the time had come for the European Union to soften its focus on economic austerity policies that had crushed growth in crisis-hit countries including Italy. "If Italy wants and if there is a parliament prepared to support the policies of the government which I intend to form, which wants to change the approach in Europe ... I think we can profit from a moment in which this is possible," Letta told officials from the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement in a meeting.

President asks Letta to form gov't in Italy

Rome, Apr 24 (EFE).- Enrico Letta, deputy secretary of the center-left Democratic Party, or PD, was asked by President Giorgio Napolitano on Wednesday to form a new government in Italy. Letta, who announced plans to resign from the PD leadership last Friday in response to party secretary-general Pier Luigi Bersani's resignation, agreed to serve as prime minister but "with reservations." The politician plans to hold meetings in the Chamber of Deputies on Thursday to gauge the viability of forming a new government.

Italy's Letta says European austerity 'no longer enough'

Italian prime minister designate Enrico Letta on Wednesday said he would aim to change the course in Europe on austerity which he said was "no longer enough". Letta said that as prime minister he "would strongly commit to a change of course for European policies too focussed on austerity which is no longer enough". dt/jz
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