Renzi to begin talks on new Italian government

Monday 17 February 2014 21.57
Matteo Renzi (centre) held talks with President Giorgio Napolitano this morning (Pic: EPA)
Matteo Renzi (centre) held talks with President Giorgio Napolitano this morning (Pic: EPA)

Matteo Renzi outlined an ambitious plan for reform today just after receiving the nomination to be Italy's new prime minister.

He promised to apply all his "energy, enthusiasm and commitment" to the role.

Mr Renzi said he would begin formal coalition talks tomorrow and predicted they would take "a few days" as he plans to form a stable government that can survive until the next scheduled elections in 2018.

"We will take the time we need, with the knowledge that there is a sense of urgency out there and this is an extremely delicate and important time," he said after being given the mandate by President Giorgio Napolitano.

"The most pressing emergency, which concerns my generation and others, is the emergency of labour, of unemployment and of despair," the 39-year-old said.

"I will put all my energy, enthusiasm and commitment into this difficult situation," he said.

He vowed that if he succeeds, he would act quickly to reform the constitution, the labour market, education and the tax system in his first few months in power.

He said he expected to lay out full reforms to Italy's electoral law and political institutions by the end of the month.

He said they would be followed by labour reforms in March, an overhaul of the public administration in April and a tax reform in May.

He declined to comment on the possible makeup of his cabinet.

"Our attention is on content and not other issues," he told reporters after a 90-minute meeting with the head of state.

Mr Renzi had been expected to takeover since he engineered the removal of his party rival Enrico Letta as prime minister at a meeting of the Democratic Party leadership last week, following growing impatience with the slow pace of economic reforms.

The eurozone's third largest economy is technically no longer in recession since it scraped back into growth in the fourth quarter of 2013.

However, it remains profoundly marked by the crisis with a €2 trillion public debt, a rapidly crumbling industrial base and millions out of work.