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EU says Italy does not need more austerity

European Commission backs Premier Monti's line

05 April, 15:13
EU says Italy does not need more austerity (ANSA) - Rome, April 5 - The European Commission on Thursday backed Premier Mario Monti's assertion that Italy will not need more austerity measures to hit its target of balancing the budget next year.

There has been speculation Italy could be in for more austerity after a piece published in Tuesday's FT cited a report it said circled at last week's meeting of eurozone finance ministers in Copenhagen which suggested that the recession threatened Italy's budget targets.

Monti said on Friday that the recession Italy slipped into in the second half of last year would not necessitate more austerity on top of the 30-billion-euro package of spending cuts and tax hikes his emergency government of non-political technocrats passed in December.

He said that this was because the government had been cautious when forecasting factors such as revenues from the fight on tax evasion and the interest rates Italy will have to pay on its massive debt in the calculations for that package. The EC agrees. "The full application of the measures adopted up to now will make it possible for Italy to... achieve the goal of balancing the budget," an EC statement said.

"Therefore, any reference to new consolidation efforts is unfounded".

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