Italy requires a credible medium-term plan to reign over its public debt, the head of the International Monetary Fund’s Europe department Poul Thomsen said on Friday.
Noting Italy’s decade-old low growth, Thomsen called for labour market reforms and the modernization of the civil service.
Low growth continues to be a challenge for the Italian economy. The Bank of Italy said on Friday that Italian growth was flat in the third quarter of 2019 and was just 0,1% in the second.
European Economy Commissioner Pierre Moscovici on Friday said that Italy’s 2020 budget may require some revision in addressing the country’s structural deficit but does not envisage a crisis. The budget submitted last week envisages that Italy’s structural deficit will rise by 0.1% rather than drop by 0,6% in 2020.
But in an article published by the Italian financial daily Il Sole 24 Ore on Sunday, Paolo Gentiloni, who will succeed Moscovici, said that EU deficit rules must not be ignored but must be revised.
Meanwhile, Gentiloni echoed those who ask from countries with the “fiscal space” – a reference to The Netherlands and Germany – to spend more. “It’s time for countries which have fiscal space to use it, in an overall context of less restrictive budgetary policies,” Gentiloni writes.
In an interview with CNBC last Tuesday, German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz has made clear that Germany is “not willing to have extra debts.” Scholz was deflecting criticism that Germany is not spending enough.
Germany’s real GDP (gross domestic product) is expected to reach 0.5% in 2019 and 1.5% in 2020, according to the government’s 2020 budget plan, while unemployment will continue to slide to 2.7%.