Sunday, September 6, 2015

Major Italian Reforms and other Improvements, 2014-1015

In my previous post on Italian news last month, I focused on political reforms.  Other reforms and improvements are the focus of this post.

Since my last update on general Italian news in 2013, the center-left-right Government of the Italian Republic has cut income taxes and created a tax credit for donations to support the arts.  It paid back businesses millions of dollars the State had owed while continuing the crackdown on tax cheating.  The Italian Parliament approved major public works projects to improve infrastructure that will include private funding and capped “golden pensions.”  The Italian Government gained approval by the European Union for the EU to take over from Italy the costly task of rescuing migrants in the Mediterranean Sea.  A major labor reform was approved by the Parliament to make it easier for businesses to terminate employees, a measure that has increased the confidence of businessmen to hire more workers, which has already lowered Italy’s relatively high unemployment rate.  These various measures reduce public expenditures or increase revenue or stimulate the Italian economy, which is out of recession and weakly recovering.  

In addition, a large percentage of the leading Italian passenger airline, Alitalia, which is partially owned by the Italian Government, was bought by the airline of the United Arab Emirates to keep Alitalia aloft. 

The 2015 World’s Fair is being hosted by Milan, Italy’s second city, since May until the end of October, with the theme of “Feeding the World, Energy for Life.”  Already more than sixteen million tickets have been sold, which is further boosting Italy’s tourism industry. 

There were judicial reforms enacted by the Parliament of Italy, particularly to clear up the backlog of civil cases.  The Parliament also reformed the bidding process was reformed and also enacted a stronger anti-corruption law, while the Government has continued the policies of previous Governments of seizing assets of the mafia and other organized crime syndicates.  These measures will also help the Italian economy, as they increase investor confidence, in addition to making commerce easier. 

A major anti-terrorism measure was also enacted by the Parliament.  The law makes it a crime to fight alongside jihadists abroad; criminalizes organizing, financing or promoting trips abroad to commit terrorism; includes in its definition of training in terrorism those who train themselves, instead of only those trained by others; includes stiffer penalties for terrorism, recruitment or the incitement of terrorism through the Internet; allows law enforcement to shut down websites that incite terrorism and allows the immediate arrest of anyone with explosives.    

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