Former Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi said he’s powerless to topple Enrico Letta’s coalition government after Deputy Prime Minister Angelino Alfano left the PDL party to form a group supporting the cabinet.
Prime Minister Mario Monti’s emergency budget plan won final approval in Parliament today as Italy struggles to tame surging borrowing costs before facing 53 billion euros ($69 billion) in debt repayments early next year.
By his own reckoning, since becoming Italy’s prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi has endured 105 judicial probes and trials and 2,500 court hearings, and spent more than 300 million euros ($409 million) in legal fees defending himself against allegations of tax fraud, bribery, corruption, and more. That’s 48,000 euros a day since he was first elected in 1994, when he parlayed his celebrity as a media baron and one of Italy’s richest men into a political career.
The Italian economy contracted in the third quarter, signaling the country may have entered its fifth recession since 2001 as the government adopts new austerity measures that will further weigh on growth.
Germany and France powered economic growth in the euro area in the first quarter as booming exports fueled domestic spending in the bloc’s core, offsetting turmoil sparked by sovereign debt woes in Greece, Ireland and Portugal.
Treasuries rose, pushing yields on 10- and 30-year debt down the most this year, and U.S. stocks reversed losses amid speculation President Barack Obama will propose a freeze on some spending and announce measures to bolster growth. Gold slid to a three-month low.
Italy’s main political parties are holding their fire on the government’s 30 billion-euro ($40 billion) austerity and growth plan, suggesting they won’t derail measures Prime Minister Mario Monti says are needed to save the nation and the euro.