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Italy must stick to budget conditions, Eurogroup chief says

Dijsselbloem urges Renzi government to enact reform

01 April, 12:27
Italy must stick to budget conditions, Eurogroup chief says (ANSA) - Athens, April 1 - Italy should adhere to its budget commitments and pursue reforms, Eurogroup president Jeroen Dijsselbloem said Tuesday.

"It is too early," to evaluate the reforms announced by the government of Premier Matteo Renzi, said Dijsselbloem ahead of an informal meeting of finance ministers of eurozone countries in Athens.

However, the Eurogroup president urged Italy "to stick to the agreements and procedures and to enact reforms so that we might all become more competitive". Italy's budget commitments are set out under a European Stability and Growth Pact requiring member states to maintain budget deficit-to-GDP ratios of 3% or less.

However, these conditions have forced government to raise taxes and cut spending, arguably choking off economic growth as the country struggles to emerge from its deepest recession since the Second World War.

Olli Rehn, the European commissioner for economic and monetary affairs, played up economic recovery in the European Union, which he said was "gaining ground".

However, he also expressed concern about low inflation across the eurozone.

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