Barroso ‘Confident’ Italy Will Be Able to Exit Deficit Procedure

European Commission President Jose Barroso said he’s “very confident” Italy will be able to leave the European Union’s excessive-deficit procedure after Enrico Letta pledged new measures to boost growth.

“We trust the government will finance these in a credible way, in order to keep the deficit below 3 percent of GDP in 2013, and achieve and maintain a balanced budgetary position in structural terms,” Barroso said today after meeting Letta, Italy’s prime minister, in Brussels. “I’m very confident that it will be possible, provided now that Italy details the measures that it intends to take, that Italy will be able to go out of the excessive-deficit procedure.”

Letta told Barroso that Italy will stick to its deficit targets while pursuing growth-enhancing strategies. In an April 29 speech to the Italian Parliament, the premier pledged a series of tax cuts to boost economic growth and job creation.

Barroso said Italy’s potential exit from the EDP “now depends on the presentation in concrete terms of the plans of the new Italian government.” The commission, the European Union’s Brussels-based executive, will issue country-specific recommendations for the 27 EU countries in late May that can be considered by finance ministers at their meeting in June.

OECD Report

Lifting of the excessive-deficit procedure would be “an excellent way to welcome, but also support, the new government” in Italy, Angel Gurria, head of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, said today in an interview with Bloomberg Television in Rome. The OECD urged the Italian government to focus on cutting its debt in a report today.

Letta met earlier this week with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Francois Hollande and EU President Herman Van Rompuy. After his meeting with Letta yesterday in Brussels, Van Rompuy stressed the need for a two-pronged strategy of shoring up government finances while boosting economic growth.

“I reiterated that the EU will continue to stand by Italy in pursuing our common commitment to overcome the economic crisis and promoting growth and jobs, in making full use of the existing flexibility while keeping sound public finance as a key objective,” Van Rompuy said in a statement late yesterday.

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