Enrico Letta: austerity is "no longer sufficient"

New prime minister calls for easing of austerity.

New Statesman
Italian leftist Enrico Letta. Credit: Getty Images.

Enrico Letta, a centre-left politician, has been nominated as the new prime minister of Italy. A move seen as an important step to liberalise austerity policies favoured by the Germany and Switzerland.

Letta, who represents the Democratic Party, will initiate talks over forming a coalition with his centre-right rivals led by Silvio Berlusconi. Outlining a programme of institutional reforms and measures to create employment, Letta said: “Europe’s policy of austerity is no longer sufficient.”

Commenting on Italy’s dysfunctional system, Letta said: “Politics has lost all its credibility. Either we regain it, everyone and together, or there cannot be the instruments to resolve the country’s problems.”

Letta will need all his diplomatic skills in negotiating the composition of the next government after Berlusconi’s People of Liberty set out demands for tax cuts and rebates that a fiscally strapped Italy with €2tn of public debt cannot easily afford, reported the Financial Times. Letta, however, may face opposition to a power-sharing deal from the left-wing of his own party.

It is speculated that Mario Monti, the caretaker prime minister, will be given the portfolio of a foreign minister, in exchange for support to Letta.

Opposition in parliament will be led by the Five Star Movement, which secured a quarter of the vote in February elections.

Letta chances of success will mostly depend on his policies to improve the economy of the country, apart from his style of governance.

President Giorgio Napolitano, on Monday, condemned the failures of the country’s politicians and threatened to resign if they did not bury their differences and agree on a coalition.