Europe

Italy to slash bn 1.1 euros of spending

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The Italian government has approved 1.1 billion euros (USD 1.5 billion) of spending cuts in an attempt to keep the country’s budget deficit below 3.0 percent of gross domestic product (GPD) in 2013.

In a statement released on Wednesday, Italy’s Finance Minister Fabrizio Saccomanni said that the cuts, endorsed on the same day, will be spread across various ministries in the recession-mired country.

According to the European Union limit, the public deficit of euro zone countries should not exceed 3.0 percent of their output.

Italy started to experience recession after its economy contracted by 0.2 percent in the third quarter of 2011 and by 0.7 percent in the fourth quarter of the same year.

Over the past decade, Italy has been the slowest growing economy in the eurozone as tough austerity measures, spending cuts, and pension changes have stirred serious concerns for many people already grappling with the European country’s ailing economy.

Italians have been staging protests against high unemployment, economic adversity, and hardship over a series of government-imposed austerity packages in the recent past.

In June, Italy’s Prime Minister Enrico Letta apologized to unemployed Italian young people who must leave the debt-stricken country to find jobs, saying “The biggest debt that we are accumulating, by repeating the mistakes of the previous generations, is towards the young person, which is an unforgivable mistake.”

Europe plunged into financial crisis in early 2008. Insolvency now threatens heavily debt-ridden countries such as Greece, Portugal, Italy, Ireland and Spain.

The worsening debt crisis has forced EU governments to adopt harsh austerity measures and tough economic reforms, which have triggered incidents of social unrest and massive protests in many European countries.

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