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Cottarelli to meet Renzi over 32-bn-euro spending review

Pensions under 3,000 euros safe from cuts, says premier

14 March, 13:20
Cottarelli to meet Renzi over 32-bn-euro spending review (ANSA) - Rome, March 14 - Spending Review Commissioner Carlo Cottarelli met with government officials on Friday to discuss cuts in public spending worth 32 billion euros over the next three years.

The inter-ministerial committee and Cottarelli examined single chapters of expense "to draft a spending review providing results in the short term and over the next three years," the premier's office said in a statement.

Cottarelli is also scheduled to meet Renzi on Friday, one day after the premier said his office, and not the economy minister, would be in charge of handling the spending review.

The spending review chief told the Senate on Wednesday that the government could achieve three billion euros in cuts in 2014.

But Renzi said the official was being cautious and that the real figure for 2014 was closer to seven billion.

The premier also vowed Thursday that the spending review would not affect pensions of up to 3,000 euros a month after Cottarelli said Wednesday that trimming pensions which are a "very high expenditure" could free up billions of euros for other purposes, including job creation.

He suggested that only about 15% of pensions "above a certain threshold" would be affected through "a temporary contribution2.

Cottarelli, the former International Monetary Fund's head of fiscal affairs, last November began his job of finding inefficiency in Italian public administration to free up cash to finance cuts in labour taxes in order to stimulate economic growth.

The goal is aiming to find savings equal to 2% of Italy's gross domestic product (GDP) by 2016.

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