Rehn says Italy doesn't need more austerity

But commissioner says consolidation strategy must be maintained

Rehn says Italy doesn't need more austerity

(see related story) Brussels, February 22 - Italy should not need more austerity measures to hit its budget targets, European Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn said on Friday. But the government that is formed in Rome after Sunday and Monday's general election must continue with the fiscal consolidation policies adopted by outgoing Premier Mario Monti's emergency technocrat government, Rehn said. There has been speculation that Italy might need another tough budget in top of the austerity measures adopted by Monti to respect its commitment with the EU to balance its budget in structural terms this year. Rehn said this should not be necessary, under certain conditions. "Italy doesn't need another (austerity) budget, but it's essential that it maintains the full application of the consolidation strategy that has already been adopted and makes it possible to balance the budget this year," said Rehn. The commissioner added that Brussels "will continue to monitor Italy very closely".

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