(see related) Rome, May 23 - Italian Premier Enrico Letta on Thursday said that after slashing benefits for ministers and MPs, "we will continue down this path by eliminating public funding for parties, reducing the number of MPs" and by making other institutional reforms. Speaking at the annual assembly for the powerful Confindustrial employers' confederation, Letta said that government and industry "are on the same side". "Politics, perhaps too late, has come to learn its lesson, but now it needs to apply what it has learned," he added. The government of Italy is increasingly looking to measures they hope will stimulate growth after austerity measures have been blamed for driving the country into its worst recession in decades. Letta, who was named premier last month, has been given what many see as an impossible task of reversing the country's economic woes and making critical reforms while at the head of an unprecedented and highly volatile left-right coalition government. "I know only one thing: the mission is difficult, and I feel all the pressure and expectations weighing on my back," he said. "I don't know if we'll make it, but will give it our all".
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di Giovanni Pastore