Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Socialistas for Growth?

That's what the European Union thinks Romano Prodi had better be:

(ANSA) - Rome, September 5 - Italy is in economic decline and Romano Prodi's government must take urgent action to stop the rot, according to a panel of European experts.

A new report by the European Union's observatory for the implementation of the Lisbon Strategy said Italy is in trouble because of a "series of structural lags that the country has accumulated with respect to its main competitors".

The Lisbon Strategy is a 10-year EU-wide plan devised in 2000 to address the problem of low productivity, unemployment and economic stagnation in Europe.

The Observatory for the Lisbon Strategy identified four main areas of concern - Italy's bloated public sector, excess market regulation, falling productivity and lower investment in human resources, and high taxes.

The report revealed that central and local government employ five million people in Italy, a fifth of the working population. It said that this level is "without equivalent in Europe".

....the report said the government should also "intervene where the interests of its own electoral base" are at stake.

This means making the pension system sustainable by raising the retirement age, cutting the number of public-sector employees and introducing greater flexibility to the labour market by making it easier to hire and fire workers .

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