EU Decision on Firewalls `Important Step,' Passera Says

Corrado Passera
Corrado Passera, Italy's Economic Development minister, talks to members of the media at the Ambrosetti Workshop in Cernobbio. Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

Italian Development Minister Corrado Passera denied a Financial Times report that Italy may need further budget adjustments to reach its fiscal targets.

Italy doesn’t need new austerity measures, Passera told reporters in Rome today, saying “there can’t be growth with austerity.”

The European Commission said today Italy has taken “decisive” steps to bring down its debt and spur growth.

“The Italian authorities have taken decisive action both in terms of fiscal consolidation, putting the very high debt on a declining path, and they’re taking decisive structural reform to boost the growth potential of the Italian economy,” commission spokesman Amadeu Altafaj said in Brussels.

Prime Minister Mario Monti is implementing a 20 billion-euro ($26.7 billion) package of spending cuts and tax increases to eliminate the deficit next year and trim the nation’s 1.9 trillion-euro debt. Those measures are weighing on growth, with the European Commission forecasting on Feb. 23 a contraction of 1.3 percent this year.

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