Wednesday, June 29, 2011

'Berlusconi government may collapse'

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi (L) and Northern League leader Umberto Bossi

Source: Press TV

Italy's Northern League political party leader says Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's government risked collapsing over an austerity budget worth nearly EUR 40 billion (USD 57.6 billion).

Umberto Bossi, whose political party is Berlusconi's main coalition ally, says the Northern League may not support the 2012 budget.

Italian Finance Minister Giulio Tremonti has reportedly come under pressure by the ruling coalition to resign over his budget measures.

Berlusconi met with coalition leaders on Tuesday to gain political agreement on the country's annual budget, which includes cuts to ministry budgets, funding for town councils and healthcare, Reuters reported.

Italy, which has found itself in a similar situation as Greece, must come up with EUR 40 billion in budget cuts by 2014 in order to comply with eurozone regulations.

The country's debt burden is currently at 120 percent of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which is twice the eurozone limit but still better than other members like Greece.

Analysts believe Berlusconi's unpopularity will trigger fierce protests in the face of the austerity measures and can undermine the premier's government entirely.

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