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Budget deficit leaves no fiscal wriggle room, econ min says

'Maneuvering would have unpleasant consequences'

13 December, 17:06
Budget deficit leaves no fiscal wriggle room, econ min says (ANSA) - Rome, December 13 - Italy's economy minister on Friday said risks of a rising budget deficit leave the country with no fiscal wriggle room.

"We're unfortunately very close to having a 3% deficit-to-GDP ratio," said Fabrizio Saccomanni, referring to the European Union-mandated limit. "Any maneuvering would have very unpleasant consequences.

We prefer not to get to that point," he added in a speech before the Senate finance committee. Earlier this year, the European Commission closed an excessive-deficit procedure opened against Italy in 2009 after the deficit was 3% last year and forecast to be 2.9% for 2013.

The price of not meeting the 3% requirement is stiff - states that are under an excessive-deficit procedure and have a debt-GDP ratio of over 60% are obliged to divert public money into trying to reduce that ratio.

In Italy's case, escaping the procedure has meant about eight billion euros freed up for public spending.

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