Italy’s Progress Won’t Be Affected by 2013 Elections: Minister
The 2013 general elections in Italy will allow for the government’s so-called “Monti approach” to continue, the Italian minister of economic development Corrado Passera told CNBC in an exclusive interview.
Passera said he does not fear that the 2013 general elections in Italy will affect progress that has been made. “All the parties realized how close we got to a real problem last year. The very large majority of the parliament will continue to implement the agenda we have been implementing over the past 12 months (…) and Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti’s philosophy will certainly be confirmed by the new government,” he said.
Passera also said he agrees with Monti’s expectations that Italy will not need any bailout or help from the European Central Bank, and that they will not have to accessthe ECB’s new bond-buying program anytime. “As of today, there is no need for that,” Passera said.
The country’s growth rate has turned negative with the economy contracting 0.7 percent in the second quarter of 2012, and hopes of ECB action to lower borrowing costs have bought more time for Italy to reduce its debt and push through economic reforms to boost growth.
The Italian government wants to make Italy more efficient, Passera said, and will focus on bridging the digital divide, stimulate ecommerce, and implement measure to transform the government into an e-government.
Italy is also set to announce a number of ways to make it easier to create new start-ups, he added. “Establishing a company in our country has always been a bit too difficult, so we are simplifying the administrative rules (...) Growth in every country in the world comes largely from new companies.”
Other reforms will include changes to Italy’s education system and the rule of law, Passera said.
The Italian government recently allocated 35 billion euros ($44 billion) to improve Italy’s infrastructure. The money will be used for 100 projects, whose development can be followed on a government website. “If the money is spent, the work progresses,” Passera said, adding that he believes this method of closely watching developments makes progress more capable.
Other reforms include a way to encourage infrastructure financing by allowing tax deductions or financing projects with the use of future tax revenues, Passera said.
By Liza Jansen, special for CNBC.com. Twitter: @lizajansen