Rome

Italy ratifies European Fiscal Compact

Treaty obliges states to balance budgets

Italy ratifies European Fiscal Compact

(ANSA) - Rome, July 19 - Italy's Lower House on Thursday passed the final vote for the ratification of the European Union's new Fiscal Compact for tighter budget discipline and union. The ratification passed with 380 votes in favour, 59 against and 36 abstentions. The treaty, signed in March as part of measures seeking to solve the eurozone crisis, will come into force at the start of next year if at least 12 of the signatory states ratify it. By accepting the pact, Italy and the 24 other signatories agreed to insert a balanced-budget rule into their own national constitutions, committing themselves to "semi-automatic" sanctions to be triggered if the measures are violated. Furthermore, counties with a public debt of over 60% of gross domestic product must bring it under that threshold within 20 years. Italy's huge national debt is around 120% of GDP. Britain and the Czech Republic were the only EU members not to sign the treaty.

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