Italy should respect EU rules-Lagarde

Head of Fund calls on Rome to deliver fiscal consolidation

(ANSA) - Rome, October 11 - International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde called on Italy to respect the EU budget rules during a news conference at the agency's annual meeting on Thursday. "Our position concerning Italy is quite well known," Lagarde said when asked about concern over the Italian government's budget plans and the risk of contagion following recent market turbulence. "We certainly advocate continued fiscal consolidation, which has to be growth-friendly in order to support the growth of that country. "And we certainly consider that being a member of the European Union and the EU members should respect the rules that they are committed to by virtue of their membership. "That is our position". The European Commission has sent Rome a letter expressing concern that the plan to let the budget deficit rise to 2.4% of GDP next year will lead Italy to breach the EU's rules.
    Several national and international bodies have also criticised the plan.
    Economy Minister Giovanni Tria has said the criticism has failed to take account of the positive effect the expansive budget will have on growth, thus helping to bring down the debt-to-GDP ratio too.