3% target not only factor in EU excessive-deficit decision

Efforts to restore financial health more important, says EC

3% target not only factor in EU excessive-deficit decision

Rome, April 22 - The European Commission said Monday that it will not only look at whether Italy has brought its deficit under the permitted threshold of below 3% of gross domestic product (GDP) when deciding whether to lift the excessive deficit procedure against the country. The EC is set to decide on May 29 whether to close the procedure. The government has forecast that recession-hit Italy's deficit will be 2.9% of GDP this year, following tax hikes and spending cuts adopted by outgoing Premier Mario Monti's emergency technocrat administration. Italy had a deficit-GDP ratio of 3% in 2012, Eurostat said on Monday. "We don't look only at the 3% target," said an EC spokesperson when asked about the procedure against Italy and several other European Union member states. "It's a nominal target. The efforts the countries are making to restore health (to their public finances) are more important than the nominal value".

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