Audit Court criticizes Monti's former caretaker government

Warns that in the final quarter of 2012, government was careless

Audit Court criticizes Monti's former caretaker government

Rome, May 8 - Italy's caretaker government under former premier Mario Monti was financially careless in its final months, the Audit Court said Wednesday. The government's fiscal decrees in the last quarter of 2012 were "incoherent" and did not include the proper fiscal safeguards to ensure revenues actually matched earlier estimates, said the court. The caretaker government was appointed in November 2011 to cope with Italy's financial mess, and operated until late April once a two-month, post-election stalemate was broken and the left-right coalition government of Enrico Letta was sworn in. The Monti government's financial stability law, approved late last year, was unreliable and operated in a piecemeal fashion, the court added. The court reviewed the government's financial measures for the final three months of last year, and found numerous failings. Wednesday's comments were consistent with earlier warnings from the court made last February, when it warned that further tax increases would worsen, rather than improve, public finances. It noted that tax hikes and spending cuts introduced by Monti's emergency technocrat government have boosted the national accounts, raised investor confidence in the country and eased pressure on its borrowing costs. But it noted those have also deepened the recession, adding that the tax burden was already "out of line" and that the hikes would create "the conditions for further recessionary effects".

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