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Italy


International Outlook: Global Wrapup

ITALY

Efforts by new Prime Minister Giuliano Amato to overhaul Italy's sick economy could face tougher going. Since taking power in June, Amato has pushed through decrees reducing political influence in state-owned giants such as Istituto per la Ricostruzione Industriale (IRI) and energy conglomerate Ente Nazionale Idrocarburi. But Parliament is not likely to be so pliant when it reconvenes next month. Amato's biggest headache will come from the deteriorating Italian economy itself. According to new projections, some 100,000 workers in industry and construction are likely to lose their jobs in the autumn months, pushing Italian unemployment over 11%. That could make it difficult for the government to quickly privatize large swaths of state industry, leading to even more job losses. State-owned iri, for example, with $55 billion in debt and $280 million in red ink last year, employs 400,000 people. Amato's plans to increase consumption taxes as part of an effort to raise $27 billion to close this year's budget have already been greeted by calls for a tax revolt.Edited by Stanley Reed


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