Rome

EC has 'full confidence' Italy will respect budget rules

Berlusconi dared Letta to defy deficit threshold Monday

EC has 'full confidence' Italy will respect budget rules

Rome, June 18 - The European Commission (EC) said Tuesday that it was confident Italy will respect the EU's budget rules after Silvio Berlusconi on Monday urged Premier Enrico Letta to break them. "The government should go to the EU and say you can forget the 3% (deficit-to-GDP ratio) limit and the fiscal compact," said three-time Italian premier Berlusconi, whose centre-right People of Freedom (PdL) party helps sustain Letta's left-right executive. Berlusconi said that Italy would not be thrown out of the euro or the union even it broke the rules, given that it is a net contributor to the EU budget. Letta's office said Monday that Rome's position on respecting the budget rules had not changed and the EC said Tuesday it is satisfied this is the case. "The Commission has full confidence in Italy, which will respect the 3% deficit limit," said the spokesperson for Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn. "The rules of the stability pact are well known".

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