Napolitano says Italy working to avoid deficits
President says government acting with courage18 October, 14:06
Earlier this year, the European Commission closed an excessive-deficit procedure it had opened against Italy in 2009 because the deficit met the 3%-to-GDP limit last year. In Italy's case, escaping the procedure has meant about eight billion euros freed up for public spending.
"Can we underestimate the fact that Italy is out of the situation in which the offense was excessive deficit," said Napolitano, who spoke days after the government introduced budget measures to keep the deficit-to-GDP ratio on track.
"The government says no and I think it's a justified concern".
Napolitano also praised Premier Enrico Letta's government for having the courage to make hard choices necessary to avoid seeing Italy's deficit-to-GDP ratio breaching the 3% threshold allowed by the European Union.
Being "irresponsible," with the public accounts is easy, the president added.
Continued spending while reducing taxes, as many wanted the government to do, "would not be a test of courage but a test of recklessness".
Letta's left-right administration last month admitted the deficit was on course to reach 3.1% unless rapid action was taken to fix the budget.
So this week's budget bill included measures to try to boost economic growth by measures including some tax trimming.