Letta reassures Europe over budget commitments

Economy minister also says no question of breaking 3% threshold

Letta reassures Europe over budget commitments

Rome, September 13 - Premier Enrico Letta reiterated on Friday that Italy would respect its commitment to keep its deficit-to-GDP ratio within the 3% threshold allowed by the European Union. Letta gave the reassurance after the European Central Bank (ECB) said Thursday there was a risk Italy would not achieve its deficit target for this year. "The conditions are right for us not to go over 3%," Letta said. "We'll keep the budget under 3%". The ECB said in its monthly bulletin Thursday that moves to pay public-sector debts to private companies and the rolling-back of the IMU property tax could affect Rome's ability to hit its budget target. The European Commission closed an excessive-deficit procedure against Italy in May after its deficit came in at 3% last year and the government said it would be 2.9% this year. Last week the Italian government said in a report that it had revised its deficit-to-GDP ratio forecast for this year up from 2.9% to 3% following the decision to scrap IMU. Economy Minister Fabrizio Saccomanni also said Friday that respect of the 3% threshold was "not in question".

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