Italy's growth lag unacceptable - Tria

DEF economic blueprint sets sights on growth says minister

(ANSA) - Rome, October 9 - The government is seeking to address an "unacceptable" lag in Italy's economic performance that has left over 17 million people in hardship, Economy Minister Giovanni Tria said Tuesday as he presented the DEF economic blueprint in parliament. Tria said there was "a lag in economic growth and employment, a lag that is no longer acceptable, 10 years since (the start of) the economic crisis". He said that Italy's GDP was four points below the 2008 level and regional gaps "have broadened" along with the number of people in poverty. The said the League/5-Star Movement (M5S) government has set its sights on stoking growth to improve people's lives and at the same time bringing down the debt-to-GDP ratio.
    He said the government's budget plan was "courageous, but not fearless and irresponsible". The executive plans to let Italy's deficit rise to 2.4% of GDP next year, saying an expansive budget will help GDP to increase by 1.5% in 2019, 1.6% in 2020 and 1.4% in 2021, with the help of new public investments and welfare spending.
    Tria said the growth estimates were prudent and could be surpassed.
    The minister said he agreed with Lower House Speaker and M5S member Roberto Fico's call for a lowering of the tone with respect to the European Commission.
    The Commission has criticised Italy's budget plans and sent Rome a letter expressing concern that they could lead to a breach of European rules, sparking angry reactions from some ministers, led by deputy premiers Matteo Salvini and Luigi Di Maio.