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Renzi tells Barroso Italy respects budget constraints

Premier says Rome will honour its commitments

20 March, 17:17
Renzi tells Barroso Italy respects budget constraints

(See related) (ANSA) - Rome, March 20 - Italy is respecting all budget commitments it has made to the European Union, Premier Matteo Renzi said Thursday.

He was responding to concerns raised earlier in the day by European Commission President José Manuel Barroso, who said that Rome's respect of its budget commitments was crucial to confidence in Italy and the European Union as a whole. "Italy is in compliance with all constraints," Renzi said as he left for a summit of European Union leaders in Brussels.

One day earlier, Renzi said that Italy would respect the EU deficit-to-GDP limit of 3% even though he considered it out of date. Renzi has also said, however, that Italy's deficit for 2014 may be higher than the 2.6% it was forecast to come in at this year, while remaining within the 3% limit.

That triggered Barroso's concerns.

"The Italian premier has committed himself to a very ambitious programme of reforms while at the same time saying he would respect the commitments made at the European level," Barroso added.

"I think this is fundamental for confidence in Italy and the whole EU".

Italy has been under considerable pressure from the European Commission, which has complained that Italy's 2014 budget was insufficient to correct the country's "excessive macroeconomic imbalances", including high debt and low competitiveness.

The EC has warned that it would be monitoring Italy's macroeconomic imbalances and efforts by the eurozone's third-largest economy to reform these.