Italian Welfare Minister in tears as she announces austerity measures
Sometimes the bullshit just gets too much to bear, apparently. Minister Fornero began by saying the reforms were very strict, and that they were asking all Italians to sacrifice but then she could not continue, Prime Minister Monti finishing the remarks for her.
Italy's Cabinet has adopted a package of tax hikes, budget cuts and pension reforms worth 20 billion euros ($27 billion) in a rush to avoid a bankruptcy that threatens to bring down the eurozone.
"This is a decree to save Italy," Prime Minister Mario Monti said at a press conference after the Cabinet meeting.
"This is a moment in which Italy risks being responsible for helping to drag down the economy of Europe."
Italy will "put its deficit and debt under strong control" so that the country is "not seen as a suspicious flash point by Europe", he said.
He also warned that Italians had to make "sacrifices" and said he was renouncing his own salary as prime minister in a gesture of solidarity.
The three-year package includes a controversial pension reform that will increase the minimum pension age for women to 62 starting next year and fall into line with men by 2018, by which time both will retire at 66.
The number of years that men have to pay contributions to receive their full pensions will also be increased from the current level of 40 to 42.
Welfare Minister Elsa Fornero, whose proposals have already been slammed by Italy's main trade unions, broke down in tears as she outlined the changes.
Il ministro del Welfare Elsa Fornero si commuove durante la conferenza stampa di presentazione della manovra. Inizia spiegando "i vincoli finanziari oggi sono severissimi: nessuna riforma nell'anno della sua introduzione da risparmi. E' un meccanismo lungo. E allora abbiamo dovuto, e ci è costato anche psicologicamente, chiedere un sacr...". Il ministro non termina la frase che si riferiva al blocco della perequazione delle pensioni. Il Presidente del Consiglio prende la parola e continua a illustrare le misure e rivolgendosi al ministro: ''Commuoviti ma correggimi" scatenando una risata in sala stampa. A cura di Francesco Cocco