Italy 'won't get more time to balance budget'

Rehn rejects Fassina's call for exemption to stoke growth

Italy 'won't get more time to balance budget'

Rome, May 6 - Italy won't be granted more time to balance its budget, a spokesman for European Financial Commissioner Olli Rehn said Monday. Deputy Economy Minister Stefano Fassina said Sunday the European Union should give Italy "another two years" to balance the budget in structural terms, at or slightly above 3% of GDP, for at least two years because of the need to spend to stoke growth. Rehn said the 3013 target of 3% was a must because of Italy's "very high" debt of 130% of GDP, the second-biggest in the eurozone after Greece's. Recent figures say Italy's budget-to-GDP ratio should be 2.9% this year and 2.4% next, but this has not taken probable new government spending into account.

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