Italys taxi drivers were continuing protests on 5 July against the governments new liberalization laws after talks with the ministry of economic development failed to reach a satisfactory conclusion. Taxi drivers have said they are prepared to discuss other methods of improving service only after the government has withdrawn the new decree that liberalises the issuing of licences. Government authorities insist that the decree will not be withdrawn and that the country will benefit from a larger fleet of taxis. Currently Italy has 40,000 cabs - the smallest number in Europe.
Meanwhile, the commisione di garanzia sugli scioperi, the body that regulates the legality of strikes, has threatened to penalize those taking part in wildcat action: taxi drivers could face a fine of 500 and taxi unions 50,000. The only strike that is recognized by law (with the appropriate warning given) is the nationwide action scheduled for 11 July. A nationwide assembly of taxi drivers was meeting in Rome on 5 July at Piazza Bocca della Verit, with drivers from all over the country threatening to remain in the capital until the matter was settled.