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Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta has spoken ahead of a confidence vote for his new government.

Striking a balance between his centre-left party and Berlusconi’s centre-right, is key to his cabinet’s success. Setting out his priorities, Europe was number one.

Announcing visits to Paris, Berlin and Brussels he called on Europe to ease off austerity in order to be the motor for change and to reconnect with the people.

“On the international and European scene, Italy will be engaged in finding strategies to revive growth without disturbing the recovery of public finances. Europe is encountering a crisis of legitimacy and efficiency, just when European countries need it most,” he said.

He also called for tax breaks for the young and workers, a pay cut for ministers, and an end to the unpopular housing tax, a condition for centre-right coalition partners to fall in line.

“Another key issue is justice: only with legal certainty can investments flourish. That is to say, the commitment to moralization of public life, the fight against corruption, corruption which distorts rules and incentives,” explained Letta.

The speech aimed to address the economic desperation in Italy which allegedly led a gunman to shoot two police officers Sunday as the new cabinet were sworn in. Letta paid tribute to the injured carabinieri whom he had visited in hospital.

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