‘Saving Italy’: Mario Monti’s 13 months in powerAgence France-Presse
ROME—From his dramatic rise to power as Italy seemed headed for bankruptcy to eurozone crisis fighting and austerity measures at home, Prime Minister Mario Monti’s 13 months in office were tumultuous.
Here are some of the key dates and moments from the past year:
November 9, 2011:
- A day after scandal-tainted Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi is forced to announce his resignation, President Giorgio Napolitano names Mario Monti as senator, paving the way for the economics professor to become the crisis-hit country’s new premier.
November 16, 2011:
- Monti is formally approved by parliament to lead an emergency cabinet to save Italy from bankruptcy. The former European commissioner vows Italy will be “an element of strength” in Europe and calls for a “united effort” to overcome the debt crisis.
December 22, 2011:
- The Italian parliament adopts a series of emergency austerity measures including tax hikes and a radical pension reform in a bill nicknamed “Saving Italy” that was put together by Monti after just weeks in government.
- Monti sparks a furore after saying life-long job contracts are “boring” as Italy struggles with record-high unemployment and his government draws up reforms to end what he calls “a terrible apartheid” on the labour market.
- Monti travels to China, Japan and South Korea on the first of several trips to global economic powerhouses aimed at reassuring investors that Italy is a safe place to invest in as well as boosting the country’s export status.
- The Italian parliament adopts a controversial overhaul of the labour market that makes hirings and firings easier for employers. The reform comes after months of negotiations by Monti with a furious trade union movement.
- Eurozone states strike a crucial deal at an emergency summit in Brussels that allows the use of bailout funds to buy the bonds of member states that find themselves in difficulty, following intense lobbying for the measure by Monti.
- Berlusconi’s People of Freedom party withdraws its parliamentary support for the Monti government saying his handling of the economy has plunged Italy back into recession, increased the debt and pushed unemployment to new records.
- Berlusconi announces he will run in 2013 elections for a fourth term as prime minister. Hours later, Monti announces he will resign as soon as parliament approves next year’s budget in a move that will trigger early elections.