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Italian crackdown on 'big babies'

By Mark Duff
BBC News, Milan

Ronnie Corbett in Sorry, BBC comedy about middle-aged man living in family home
Cutting the apron strings proves difficult for many Italians

A senior government minister has suggested that Italy needs a new law to force grown-up children to leave their parents' home.

Renato Brunetta was speaking after a judge ordered a father to carry on paying a living allowance to his 32-year-old live-in daughter.

The average age of home-leavers in Italy is one of the highest in Europe.

Mr Brunetta has been tasked with reforming Italy's notoriously inefficient bureaucracy.

He seems to be on a one-man crusade to shake up Italy.

He has already declared war on the fanulloni - the skivers - who abuse their safe state jobs by sloping off for long lunch breaks and the like.

Now he has turned his fire on young adults who refuse to leave the parental home. They should be forced out at 18, he says - if needs be by law.

Bamboccioni

His comments follow a court order forcing a father, Giancarlo Casagrande, 60, from Bergamo, to help pay his 32-year-old daughter's living expenses - eight years after she had finished her university studies.

Mr Brunetta's idea has been dismissed on all sides as a step too far.

But he has highlighted an increasing trend in Italy for grown children to remain at home - even into early middle age.

A survey last month by the national statistics office found that more than seven out of 10 18-39-year olds still lived with their parents.

The recession - and the difficulty of finding a secure, full-time job - has made it harder than ever for young Italians to find a place of their own.

And, for all his enthusiasm, Mr Brunetta cannot afford to be too hard on the bamboccioni - or "big babies" - as they are known.

He was once one himself - admitting that before he left home at 30 he had not even learned how to make his own bed.



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