Rome, July 9 - European Union-mandated austerity policies helped right the fiscal boat in countries such as Italy but it "froze" their economies amid an "unprecedented" recession, Italian employers' chief Giorgio Squinzi said Tuesday. "The austerity policies, which were translated into hikes in fiscal pressure and not-always-efficient cuts in public spending, froze the economy, in the throes of a recession without precedent," Squinzi told the Lower House. Squnizi's Confindustria group has been among those urging the government to move faster on vows to shift from austerity to growth-stoking programmes. The government has won leeway from the EU for pump-priming measures to cut record unemployment as long as it stays within formal budget restrictions. Italy is suffering its longest recession in more than 20 years.
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di Giovanni Pastore