Rome

Letta says end of EU procedure won't bring immediate benefit

No effect on budget until 2014, says premier

Letta says end of EU procedure won't bring immediate benefit

Rome, May 27 - Premier Enrico Letta said Monday that he was satisfied the European Commission (EC) is set to end the excessive-deficit procedure against Italy but warned that the benefits would not be immediate. The end of the procedure, which is set to be ratified at a meeting on Wednesday, will free up eight billion euros of public money that would otherwise have had to have gone into bringing down the ratio between deficit and gross domestic product (GDP). But Letta stressed that this does not mean the government has this cash available immediately to use for a number of pressing problems faced by his left-right administration. "The closure of the EU procedure for excessive deficit is certainly good news, but it'll will only have an effect on our budget in 2014," Letta told a meeting with regional governors, according to a source who was present. "As we know, it will not free up resources immediately". The EC is set to close the procedure it opened in 2009, with the government saying Italy's budget-GDP ratio will be under the 3% threshold allowed by the EU, at 2.9%. It was 3% last year.

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