EU Says Italy Forecasts to Include Payment of Corporate Bills

The European Union said Italy’s payment of overdue bills to companies will be taken into account in the EU’s economic forecasts due tomorrow.

“The program for the repayment of commercial debt by Italy -- this is set out in the stability program and we take that into account” in the EU forecasts, Simon O’Connor, spokesman for EU Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn, told reporters today in Brussels.

O’Connor said last month that the repayment program was unlikely to interfere with deficit and debt reduction in Italy. “We believe this can be done while ensuring the exit of Italy from the excessive-deficit procedure,” O’Connor said on April 8. The EU “strongly supports” the Italian move, he said.

European Commission President Jose Barroso said today that he is “very confident that it will be possible” for Italy to exit the deficit procedure. He made the remarks after meeting with Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta in Brussels.

O’Connor said the commission “will take into account any new information that is made available by Italy” before it issues country-specific recommendations for the 27 EU nations in late May. “The earlier the information comes in the better,” he said.

Letta on April 29 pledged a series of tax cuts to boost economic growth and create jobs. Barroso said his confidence in Italy exiting the EDP program is subject to the details and implementation of those measures.

“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.

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