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Italy Budget Cuts to Curb Public Jobs, EU’s Andor Says

Italy’s budget cutbacks may lead to a reduction in the number of civil servants, European Union Employment Commissioner Laszlo Andor said today.

“We are all aware of the budget constraints for Italy” and the country “needs to focus on public consolidation,” Andor told reporters in Rome at a press conference with Italian Labor Minister Elsa Fornero. Italy’s shrinking budget may have “consequences for employment in the public sector,” leading to more dismissals, he said.

Prime Minister Mario Monti’s government won Senate approval last month for a labor-market overhaul that favors hiring young people and women and eases firing rules, which Fornero has said should also apply to civil servants. The reform, which requires final approval by the Chamber of Deputies, is aimed at reducing a 12-year high unemployment rate and jump-starting an economy in its fourth recession since 2001.

“We can’t have differences” in the treatment of private and public workers, Fornero told reporters in Turin on May 24.

Andor expressed “strong support” for the labor-market legislation, calling on lawmakers not to water it down and to pass it swiftly.

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