Burlusconi admits that the low growth the economy is experiencing limits considerably his room for manoevre. Also don't miss the point about the pensions Maastricht, using the EU as a shield could be just what the local politicians need.
Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said yesterday that cutting taxes is a top priority for Italy, but that there was little room for manoeuvre since the economy was growing at a rate of less than one per cent. "We have to take into account the economic stagnation, growth is absolutely contained below 1pc," he said at a conference. "We're adding up the numbers." Italy is officially forecasting economic growth of 1.1pc in 2003. On Friday, Berlusconi said he believed cutting Italy's corporate tax rates would give a boost to the country's lacklustre growth. "I am insisting with Economy Minister (Giulio) Tremonti that we head in that direction, even a little. We'll see what we can do," he said . Italy's corporate tax rate currently stands at about 34pc, making it one of the highest in Europe. The prime minister said the general economic outlook was looking good for 2004."We have to be a little more optimistic about the economic situation after having overcome the uncertainties of the war in Iraq... There will be a robust recovery starting next year."
Berlusconi, whose country takes over the rotating presidency of the European Union in July, has said in the past that the EU's strict core Maastricht economic goals needed to be interpreted more loosely and that the EU should come up with an economic stimulus package for Europe. Yesterday, he reiterated his expectations that new EU rules on pensions would be drawn up during his term, making it easier for governments to enforce unpopular pension reforms without taking too much political heat. "A pension Maastricht will be one of the themes of the Italian EU presidency. At the end of the term we should come out with a European regulatory framework.
Source: Gulf News