Italian Official: ‘Blood And Tears’ Needed

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ROME, Aug. 12 (UPI) — Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi held several meetings Friday to work on an austerity plan to keep a financial crisis from worsening, his office said.

The government is looking for $29 billion in savings and revenue to try to balance the budget by 2013 and reassure global markets about its financial responsibility, ANSA reported.

Berlusconi met with senior leaders from his People of Freedom party and Umberto Bossi, leader of his coalition partner in Rome, late Thursday. Berlusconi and Economy Minister Giulio Tremonti met President Giorgio Napolitano to discuss the economic crisis.

Bossi said Tremonti hasn’t convinced him that the prime minister’s package would work.

“We have to know how to say ‘no’ because otherwise there is a risk of a [government] crisis,” he said.

Officials close to Berlusconi said the financial measures likely would provoke a backlash from Italian voters.

But, one minister told ANSA, “We don’t have any alternative.”

“On this point it is better to look at the virtues and transform these measures of ‘blood and tears’ into an opportunity,” the minister said.

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