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Barroso confident in Renzi reforms as EU summit reconvenes

'Italy will respect budget rules,' Renzi assures EC president

21 March, 10:30
Barroso confident in Renzi reforms as EU summit reconvenes (ANSA) - Brussels, March 21 - European Commission President José Manuel Barroso said that Italian Premier Matteo Renzi assured him at an ongoing EU summit that Italy will "fully respect" EU budget rules as it implements a series of economic reforms, which Barroso "supports very much".

The comments came before the second day of the summit in Brussels on Friday. Renzi's first day on Thursday seemed to produce positive results, with Barroso voicing support for Renzi's reforms, despite expressing some skepticism regarding Italy staying within its EU budget requirements. Aiming to jolt the stagnant economy out of a slow recovery from Italy's worst recession since World War II, Renzi plans to cut income taxes by 10 billion euros, invest 1.74 billion euros in social housing programs, spend 3.5 billion euros on schools and repay 68 billion euros in outstanding bills, among other things. Renzi, who was sworn in as premier last month, aims to implement them without breaching the EU deficit-to-GDP limit of 3%, even though he considers the threshold "out of date". Renzi has also said that Italy's deficit for 2014 may be higher than the 2.6% forecast for this year, while remaining within the 3% limit. Before the open of sessions in Brussels Friday, Barroso once again backed Renzi's "very good" reforms, "that go in the right direction".