Italian Economy Minister Fabrizio Saccomanni has threatened to step down if Prime Minister Enrico Letta ' s government refuses to consider the EU deficit limit in favor of tax cuts as Milan continues to grapple with economic slump.
Referring to senior members of the fragile coalition government which consists of Letta's Democratic Party (PD) and former premier Silvio Berlusconi's Forza Italia (FI) who vowed to go ahead with tax cuts, Saccomanni also said on Sunday, "I must defend my credibility, and I have no political ambitions." The minister also called for political stability needed for the management of public accounts in the debt-ridden country. Italy started to experience recession after its economy contracted by 0.2 percent in the third quarter of 2011 and by 0.7 percent in the fourth quarter of the same year. Over the past decade, Italy has been the slowest growing economy in the eurozone as tough austerity measures, spending cuts, and pension changes have stirred serious concerns for many people already grappling with the European country’s ailing economy. Meanwhile, earlier this week, Berlusconi threatened to bring down the government if the Italian senate dismissed a recommendation by a senator of his People of Freedom party (PDL) that the former premier should be able to keep his parliament seat despite his tax fraud conviction. In August, Rome’s Court of Cassation convicted Berlusconi of tax evasion in a final ruling and sentenced him to carry out one year of community service or be put under house arrest. However, the senate went against his demand. Berlusconi then vowed to remain in politics even if he would be expelled from parliament. Berlusconi’s party had also threatened to withdraw from the coalition government if the PD failed to prevent a one percent increase of the country’s value added tax (VAT) scheduled for next month. Berlusconi, who served as Italy’s prime minister from 1994 to 2011, resigned in November 2011 after coming under fire for mishandling the Italian economy.