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Renzi wins vote but is that enough?

Thursday, October 09, 2014 - 01:37

Italy's Prime Minister may have won an important parliamentary confidence vote but will his victory on labour reforms boost his EU credentials and lead to any real change. Melanie Ralph reports.

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Mateo Renzi had his hands full rallying the troops at a euro zone jobs summit. Unemployment is a particularly big issue for the Italian Prime. He wants the EU to adopt a new approach. (SOUNDBITE) (Italian) ITALIAN PRIME MINISTER, MATTEO RENZI, SAYING: "As prime minister and as president of the EU for this quarter I have said very clearly that the workings and the approach inside the old continent are no longer convincing if, as President Van Rompuy has said, we risk losing an entire European generation." But it was a later parliamentary vote that was Renzi's real test. Labour reforms were on the agenda in Italy's upper house. Renzi won the vote comfortably - if he'd lost he would have had to step down. He now has more power to reform labour laws, including a controverisal bill which gives some employees the right to go to court if they're dismissed. Renzi's ultimate goal is to get the EU to cut Italy some slack over the speed of deficit reduction. JP Morgan's Kerry Craig says winning the vote will help. (SOUNDBITE) (English) JP MORGAN, GLOBAL STRATEGIST, KERRY CRAIG, SAYING: "I think that winning this confidence vote has given a lot of credibility to Mr Renzi. It has sent a signal to the European Commission that he is in control of his reform agenda and the fact that when he goes to present his budget in a couple of weeks time that any changes that he puts forward will perhaps be viewed in a more positive light." Something needs to be done - Italy's youth unemployment is at a staggering 44 percent. But how far the reform will go is unclear. Hard line labour unions won't like Renzi's plans. And they only apply to Italy's private companies - its bloated public sector remains a problem. Renzi may also struggle to do it fast enough to satisfy his EU colleagues.

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Renzi wins vote but is that enough?

Thursday, October 09, 2014 - 01:37