Italian Government Says It Will ‘Make Haste’ in Applying Austerity Steps

The Italian government said it will hasten to implement new measures aimed at boosting growth and reducing the country’s debt as its borrowing costs rose to the highest since the creation of the euro in 1999.

“The government’s decisions will be applied with the determination, rigor and haste that the situation imposes,” the administration in Rome said today in an e-mailed statement. The government is working on putting the measures into operation, the statement said, adding that Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi will present them at the Group of 20 summit in Cannes, France at the end of this week.

The Italian government has announced austerity measures amounting to more than 100 billion euros ($135 billion) since July in an attempt to stem contagion from the euro-area debt crisis. Berlusconi presented a blueprint to European leaders last week for implementing a series of steps including plans to raise the retirement age, make it easier to fire workers and sell public assets.

Italian 10-year bond yields rose 19 basis points to 6.26 percent at 12:40 London time, while the difference in yield, or spread, over similar-maturity German bunds reached a euro-era record of 448 basis points.

The Italian government also said a Greek plan to hold a referendum on its international bailout “weighs heavily” on markets. “It is an unexpected decision that triggers uncertainty.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Alessandra Migliaccio in Rome at amigliaccio@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Will Kennedy at wkennedy3@bloomberg.net.

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