Rewards for beating deficit procedure 'next year' says Letta

'More budget flexibility in store'

Rewards for beating deficit procedure 'next year' says Letta

Rome, June 25 - Premier Enrico Letta told the Lower House on Tuesday that benefits will surface next year following the closure of a European Commission-mandated excessive-deficit procedure against Italy. "The reward will come next year, in the 2014 budget," he said. "We will no longer be under special surveillance and we will be able to have more flexibility than countries who have not met this goal". Last month the European Commission recommended closing the procedure, which was opened in 2009. Rome has forecast that Italy's deficit-GDP ratio will be 2.9% this year and coming in at 3% in 2012 after former premier Mario Monti's emergency government passed big tax increases and spending cuts. But the austerity measures deepened the country's longest recession in over 20 years and and did not stop the country's public debt-to-GDP ratio climbing - it is forecast to hit 132% this year. The current administration has made stimulating growth and job-creation a central focal point.

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