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Italian Labor Minister Urges G8 to Focus on People's Needs

Italy's labor minister says social welfare policies are essential in addressing the global economic crisis. The minister spoke at the G8 Social Summit in Rome.

Labor Minister Maurizio Sacconi said social welfare policies could act as the motor for economic recovery because the task is to restore people's confidence in the future.

Labor Ministers from the G8, which comprises Italy, Japan, the United States, Germany, France, Britain, Canada and Russia are attending the Social Summit meeting in Rome, as well as ministers from the G5, which includes Brazil, China, India, Mexico and South Africa.

In addition there are representatives from the International Monetary Fund, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and the International Labor Organization.

Minister Sacconi insisted people must be considered above all. Each action we take, he said, even when we are thinking of the stability of banks must translate into the well being of people. So if we support banks we do this so that they in turn guarantee liquidity to businesses.

He stressed that the main priority is to guarantee the unemployed an income, but he added there are other fundamental needs to be addressed, such as health and education.

Speaking about the daily growing concerns over the financial crisis, Minister Sacconi urged international organizations to foster an optimistic outlook. Italy's Foreign Minister Franco Frattini, who also addressed participants Monday, said while there is cause for concern over trends in the labor market, it is best to be cautious on interpreting employment figures.

OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurria warned the unemployment rate among member countries could approach 10 percent in 2010, compared with 5.6 percent in 2007, according to data to be officially released Tuesday by the Paris-based organization.