Rome

Letta thanks Monti for excessive-deficit procedure end

Italians 'should be proud', he says

Letta thanks Monti for excessive-deficit procedure end

Rome, May 29 - Premier Enrico Letta on Wednesday thanked his predecessor Mario Monti for getting Italy back to fiscal discipline after overshooting targets and facing possible European Union sanctions. "We are reaping the rewards of previous governments, especially that presided over by Mario Monti, to whom I pay personal thanks," Letta said after the European Commission recommended the closure of an excessive-deficit procedure opened in 2009. Letta also thanked the Italian people for the "effort" they put in to swallow Monti's bitter fiscal medicine, including raising the retirement age and a string of tax hikes and spending cuts, and set the budget on track to be balanced in structural terms. The premier, whose left-right government is bidding to combine growth-stoking measures with budgetary consolidation, said Italians "should be proud of this result". Letta reiterated a pledge to stick to European-mandated fiscal goals.

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