Rome

Squinzi says Italy must make economic growth top goal

Country trapped in longest recession on record

Squinzi says Italy must make economic growth top goal

Rome, May 23 - Italy's single most important objective must be a rekindling of economic growth, the head of Confindustria, Italy's powerful industrial confederation, said Thursday. Otherwise annual growth will remain stalled at levels of no more than 0.5% - well below the rate of inflation, said Giorgio Squinzi. "The goal must now be just one: a return to growth," Squinzi said at the organization's annual assembly in Rome. The country's wellbeing depends on learning to "leverage its resources" to boost the economy, he added. Italy is now stuck in the longest recession on record with seven straight quarterly drops in gross domestic product (GDP) amid rising costs and unemployment all making it harder for individuals and companies to improve their lot. Last week, national statistics agency Istat reported that GDP fell 0.5% in the first three months of 2013. Without "concrete and decisive action, growth for a long time will not exceed 0.5% per year, not nearly enough to create jobs and revive the destinies of many companies," said Squinzi.

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