Rome

'No alibi' for firms not to hire now says Letta

Firms must tap into new job-creation fund, says Italy PM

'No alibi' for firms not to hire now says Letta

Rome, June 28 - Companies in Italy and the rest of the European Union no longer have "any alibi" for not hiring young people amid rampant youth unemployment, Italian Premier Enrico Letta said after an EU summit that set up a six-billion-euro job creation fund Friday. "Now it's up to the businesses, firms haven't got an alibi any more, they can hire young people," Letta told a post-summit press conference. Letta said big tax breaks lined up under the scheme, which could eventually reach nine billion euros, would enable companies to take on young workers in countries like Greece, Spain and Italy, with youth unemployment rates of 53%, 52% and 41% respectively. However, with the EU economy flatlining in most member States or in recessions in more fragile nations like Greece, Spain, Portugal, Ireland and Italy, Letta cautioned, "we must not raise our expectations too high on the jobs front".

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