Italian government approves slashing number of provinces

Plan foresees 51, down from 86

Italian government approves slashing number of provinces

Rome, October 31 - The Italian government agreed to almost halve the number of provinces to 51 in a bid to cut public spending, Civil Service Minister Filippo Patroni Griffi said after Friday's cabinet meeting. Italy currently has 86 provinces, each with its own government. The measures are part of a wider range of reforms introduced by Premier Mario Monti since he took the helm of a government of non-political technocrats almost a year ago after Silvio Berlusconi was forced to resign amid a peak in the euro crisis. Since his appointment, Monti has been under pressure to tackle Italy's 1.9-trillion-euro public-debt load. Italy, which is the eurozone's third-largest economy, has over the past year seen its borrowing costs soar to levels considered unsustainable by most analysts. An Italian default has been indicated by many as a likely prelude to the collapse of the 17-member eurozone.

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