Italy Plans 24.9 Billion Euro Buget Cuts to Defend European Currency

Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said Italy’s planned 24.9 billion euros ($30.4 billion) of budget cuts over the next two years are “absolutely necessary” to defend the euro and protect Italy.

The measures are part of a European effort to convince investors the region can control budget deficits and shore up the euro, which has fallen 15 percent this year. The package aims to reduce Italy’s budget gap an additional 1.6 percent of gross domestic product to bring the shortfall within the EU limit of 3 percent of GDP in 2012 from 5.3 percent last year, BusinessWeek informs.

“We will oppose this inside and outside parliament with demonstrations and strikes so that the costs of this crisis are paid by those who have caused it,” said opposition politician Antonio di Pietro.

There have already been pledges of industrial action, with Italy’s largest union announcing plans for a general strike next month, euronews reports.

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