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Italy's new government wins confidence vote in Senate

Italy`s new prime minister Mario Monti (C Rear), flanked by his cabinet ministers, gives his first speech to the Senate ahead of a confidence vote to confirm parliamentary backing for his technocrat government in Rome, Italy, Nov. 17, 2011. Monti won the confidence vote Thursday with 281 votes in favor, 25 in opposition. The vote in the Chamber of Deputies, or lower house, was scheduled on Friday. (Xinhua/Wang Qingqin)

ROME, Nov. 17 (Xinhua) -- Italy`s newly appointed Prime Minister Mario Monti and his government made up of technocrats won the confidence vote of the upper house of parliament on Thursday.

The Senate backed the new cabinet with a solid majority of 281votes in favor and 25 in opposition.

The vote in the lower house of parliament, or the Chamber of Deputies, is scheduled for Friday.

In his 50-minute debut address to the Senate as the new Italian premier - interrupted by 17 rounds of warm applause - Monti outlined his program, which he said will be focused on three guidelines for budget rigor, economic growth and equity.

The urgent austerity measures requested by the European Union (EU) must be seen as the "difficult but necessary steps" to avoid a dramatic debt-driven financial crisis, Monti said.

In fact, he stressed, it does not make sense to think "in terms of us and them", as "Europe is us" and "the future of the euro will also depend on what Italy does".

Italy`s failure would also be a failure "of the prospective of a more balanced world, which absolutely needs Europe," Monti said adding that "the end of the euro would mean the break-up of the entire EU".

The new Italian premier pointed out that his cabinet will first implement the austerity measures aimed at balancing the budget in 2013 proposed by former premier Silvio Berlusconi`s government.

Additional reforms, Monti added, may include reorganizing the tax system, raising the retirement age, cutting the government expenses and making the labor world more flexible and equal, especially for young people and women.

In a telephone conference, Monti agreed with French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel that the three countries have a special responsibility to the eurozone, according to a statement published on the Italian government website.

Monti, a 68-year-old economist and former EU commissioner, was sworn in Wednesday after spending two days in intensive meetings with politicians and representatives of main industrial associations and trade unions, most of which agreed to back his government.

Increasing markets` worries that Italy may become the fourth EU victim of the debt crisis and seek a bailout, after the country`s 10-year-bond yields recently jumped over the 7 percent red line, had forced former premier Silvio Berlusconi to resign last Saturday.

Date:2011-11-18 19:48:52     
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