lunedì 16 giugno 2014

Schaeuble's office says Germany does not doubt EU pact

'Enough flexibility' in European Union budget rules

(ANSA) - Berlin, June 16 - A spokesman for German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said Monday that the government has confidence in the European Union's Growth and Stability Pact and its rules on budget deficits. The comments came after German Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel was quoted as saying that both Germany and France are interested in easing budget rules to help countries that need more time to reduce their deficits. "Countries that are embarking on reforms must have more time to cut their deficits, but it has to be binding - a binding chance to reform in return for more time," Gabriel said after meeting his French counterpart, the Bloomberg news agency reported.

When asked by ANSA for a response, a spokesman for Schaeuble said: "Nobody in the German government casts doubt on the Stability Pact". The spokesman said that the budget rules must be respected and countries affected by the eurozone crisis are "already being given more time". Added the spokesman: "There is enough flexibility in the Stability and Growth Pact".

The Stability Pact says the eurozone countries must keep the ratio of their deficit to gross domestic product (GDP) under 3% and sets out a series of strategic goals dealing with budget sustainability, growth, and encouraging competitiveness and job creation as well as dealing with debt levels. Italy has been close to the 3% limit on the deficit-to-GDP ratio imposed by the pact, which has forced the government to raise taxes and cut spending, arguably choking off economic growth as the country struggles to definitively emerge from its deepest recession since the Second World War.

The EC said Italy must "reinforce its 2014 budget measures" in order to stay in line with debt-reduction rules. At the same time, the EC's Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn, acknowledged that Italy is "already implementing considerable reforms". Italian Premier Matteo Renzi's administration has been counting on a range of measures aimed at giving the lackluster economy a boost while reducing the deficit as a percentage of GDP. 

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