Italy’s prime minister-in-waiting Romano Prodi has said he intends to take a decision swiftly to rein in the country’s swelling public deficit. Following a warning from the IMF, he said his new government would thoroughly check the accounts before speaking to the European Commission.
Italy’s budget deficit has pierced the European Union’s three percent of GDP ceiling for the last three years;
It was 4.1 percent last year and is predicted to exceed that this year. The debt-to-GDP ratio rose last year to 106.4 percent and is forecast to increase again in 2006.
More encouraging for France, official EU figures have confirmed that it came in under the limit, at 2.9% for the budget deficit.