Relief as Italy keeps EU budget promise

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Last year Italy's public debt was the second-highest in the EU after Greece. Euro banknotes photo: Shutterstock
11:24 CEST+02:00
Italy's public deficit inched down to 2.8 percent of gross domestic product in 2013 - 0.1 of a point lower than in 2012 and staying below the EU threshold of 3.0 percent, official data showed on Monday.

The data came a day before Prime Minister Matteo Renzi is to adopt an economic programme setting out economic growth and debt and deficit reduction targets for the next three years.

The deficit for the fourth quarter of 2013 was at 1.1 percent of GDP, 0.4 of a point below the level reached in the same quarter of 2012, the official statistics agency Istat said in a report.

Italy last year exited the European Union's excessive deficit procedure and has committed to remaining below the 3.0 percent level despite a recession-hit economy.

The government faces an enormous challenge in reviving the economy, which contracted by 1.9 percent in 2013.

Debt also rose to 132.6 percent of GDP last year - the highest level in the EU after Greece.

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SEE ALSO: talian PM says EU stability pact is 'stupid'

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