Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi has averted an immediate government crisis and given fresh impetus to an European Union summit aimed at saving the euro with an overnight deal on emergency growth measures demanded by the EU.
Berlusconi and Northern League leader Umberto Bossi reached a compromise on raising Italy's pension age in late-night parliament talks Tuesday — a point of disagreement that had threatened Berlusconi's leadership. His majority in parliament needs the support of the Northern League to guarantee his policies.
Berlusconi plans to deliver a letter with Italy's emergency measures to the summit later Wednesday. A spokesman said the contents are reserved for summit leaders, but Italian media reported that the measures include new infrastructure spending, with a push for more private investment for strategic projects, the privatization of public entities and property and simplifying rules for companies.
Changes to Italy's pension scheme had become a major sticking point, with Bossi's party refusing to risk alienating its constituency of workers from the productive north.
Under the overnight deal, Italy will gradually raise the pension age for all workers to 67 by 2025. Currently, men in all sectors and women in the public sector retire at 65.
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