Italy marks end of Berlusconi with austerity deal
12 November 2011

Italy’s Senate has approved economic reforms to reverse a collapse of market confidence, kicking off a rapid transition that will clear the way for an emergency government within days.

The package of austerity measures demanded by the European Union goes to the lower house, which was expected to approve it today triggering the resignation of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and ending a 17-year era in which he has loomed large over Italy.

The reforms went through Italy’s Senate as Prime Minister David Cameron warned yesterday of difficult times ahead for the British economy amid mounting international pressure for action by the eurozone to resolve its debt crisis.

Mr Cameron said there was “a big question mark” over the future of the single currency and could not rule out a “double-dip” recession in the UK as a result.

As Italy began passing its austerity measures and Greece swore in a new cabinet, the US was leading demands for swift action on implementing emergency plans agreed in October.

President Barack Obama spoke by phone with German chancellor Angela Merkel, French president Nicolas Sarkozy and Italian president Giorgio Napolitano….

…In Athens, Greece’s new prime minister Lucas Papademos took control of an interim coalition government of three parties tasked with pushing through a tough reform package.

Mr Papademos was at one time a vice president of the ECB and Mr Monti is an economist and ex-European commissioner…

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