ROME, Oct 25 (Reuters) - New Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni unveiled her policy priorities in her maiden speech to the lower house of parliament on Tuesday. Here are some of the highlights.
"Those who believe it is possible to trade Ukraine's freedom for our peace of mind are wrong. Giving in to (Russian President Vladimir) Putin's blackmail on energy would not solve the problem, it would exacerbate it by opening the way to further demands and blackmail."
"It will be necessary to maintain and strengthen national measures to support households and businesses, both on bills and fuel. This is a huge financial commitment that will drain a large part of the available resources, and will force us to postpone other measures that we would have liked to include in the next budget."
"Our priority today must be to curb high energy prices and accelerate in every way the diversification of supply sources and domestic production."
"The context in which the government will have to act is very complicated, perhaps the most difficult since World War Two."
"The International Monetary Fund (says) ... that 2023 will be a year of recession for the Italian economy: -0.2%, the worst result among the world's leading economies, after Germany."
"The way to reduce debt is not the blind austerity imposed in past years, nor financial trickery which can be more or less creative. The road (to lower debt) is lasting and structural economic growth."
"Our firms are asking above all for less bureaucracy ... we need fewer rules but rules that are clearer for everyone."
"We will reduce the tax burden on firms and families ... and extend the flat tax for the self employed to cover income up to 100,000 euros per year from the current 65,000."
"We aim to intervene gradually to cut labour taxes by at least five points for firms and families, reducing the tax pressure on firms and increasing the pay packets of workers."
"To get out of the demographic ice age ... we need a large scale plan, both economic and cultural ... to put families at the centre of our society."
"We intend to encourage early retirement schemes with mechanisms compatible with the sustainability of the pension system."
"We will spend the 68.9 billion euros in grants and the 122.6 billion euros loaned to Italy by the Next Generation EU fund in the best possible way. Without delays and without waste, and by agreeing with the European Commission on the necessary adjustments to optimise spending, especially in light of rising raw material prices and the energy crisis. These matters are to be addressed with a pragmatic, not an ideological approach."
"We do not conceive of the European Union as an elitist club with first-class and second-class members, or worse, as a joint stock company run by a board of directors with the sole task of keeping the accounts in order."
"This government will respect the (EU) rules currently in force and at the same time offer its contribution to change those that have not worked, starting with the ongoing debate on the reform of the Stability and Growth Pact."
"... Those from abroad who say they want to watch over Italy are not being disrespectful of me or this government, but are being disrespectful of the Italian people who, I want to say it clearly, do not have any lessons to learn from anyone."
"We intend to protect national strategic infrastructures by ensuring public ownership of the networks, on which companies will be able to offer services under free competition, starting with that of communications. The digital transition, strongly supported by the PNRR, must be accompanied by technological sovereignty, the national cloud and cyber-security."
"We want to finally introduce a safeguard clause of the national interest, also from an economic point of view, for the concessions of public infrastructures, such as highways and airports. Because the model of oligarchs sitting on oil wells accumulating billions without even ensuring investment is not a free market model worthy of a Western democracy."
"In Italy, as in any other serious state, you do not enter illegally, you only enter according to the law."
"This government therefore wants to follow a path, little pursued so far: stopping illegal departures, finally breaking the trafficking of human beings in the Mediterranean."
"We do not intend in any way to question the right of asylum for those fleeing war and persecution."
"A centre-right government will never curtail the existing liberties of citizens and firms. The proof of facts will show, even on civil rights and abortion, who was lying and who was saying the truth during the election campaign concerning our true intentions."
"I have never felt any sympathy or closeness to anti-democratic regimes. For no regimes, fascism included. In the same way, I have always considered the (anti-Semitic) racial laws of 1938 the lowest point of Italian history, a shame that will taint our people forever."
"We will fight against any form of racism, anti-Semitism, political violence, discrimination."
"From this government, criminals and mobsters will have nothing but contempt and inflexibility. ... We will face the cancer of the Mafia head-on."
"We want to make security a distinctive feature of this executive."
"I am the first woman to have been appointed prime minister in the history of Italy. I come from a cultural area that has often been confined to the margins of the (Italian) Republic, and I certainly have not arrived here on the back of my family background or influential friendships. I represent what English people call an underdog."
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