EU should be more flexible on govt budget rules, Letta says

'To encourage investment, create jobs'

EU should be more flexible on govt budget rules, Letta says

Rome, May 21 - Italian Premier Enrico Letta on Tuesday said that the European Union should grant governments more room to maneuver within its budget rules in order to encourage investments that would create jobs. Speaking to the House, Letta said that the EU at its June summit "must recognize spaces (needed) to maneuver national public finances in order to enable member States to invest adequate resources into active labor policies, reducing taxes on labor and creating jobs for young people". Italy recently forecast its deficit-to-GDP ratio will be 2.9% this year, taking it under the 3% threshold permitted by the EU. Letta's left-right government is hoping to convince the EC to end the excessive-deficit procedure it has against Italy this month or early in June. Meanwhile it is battling to reduce climbing unemployment, which is especially high among youth at over 38%, according to national statistics agency Istat. At the end of June, the labor ministry plans to unveil a package to reduce unemployment among the country's 15-to-24-year-olds by 8%. "European decisions will be the framework (for our national job-creation package)," Letta said.

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