EC raises Italy's deficit forecast, says Rome must 'show ability to listen'

Commission says expansionist impact of budget law the cause

(ANSA) - Brussels, February 4 - The European Commission said Thursday that it had raised its deficit-to-GDP forecast for Italy to 2.5% for 2016, up from the 2.3% it predicted in November. It said the deficit for 2016 was 2015. "Despite positive growth, the deficit will only come down marginally," the EC said in its winter forecasts. "This reflects the expansionist impact of the (2016) budget law (of Premier Matteo Renzi's government), including 3.2 billion euros in additional spending on security and culture, which increased the deficit forecast in the DEF (Economic and Financial Document) from 2.2% to 2.4%".
    European Economic Affairs Commisssioner Pierre Moscovici on Thursday said Italy should show "serenity and an ability to listen" in discussions on budget flexibility. "I am convinced that the spirit of dialogue must prevail over clashes. Serenity, patience, hard work, a mutual capacity to listen to each other and dialogue are needed," said Moscovici when asked when he would reply to Italy's demands for greater flexibility. "You know the rules, the reply to the flexibility requested will be in May, we'll examine demands continuing dialogue with Italy, in a serene and objective, methodical way and with a precise deadline, recalling that Italy is the only (country) that already benefits from a significant flexibility".

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