Berlusconi backs EU rules on deficits ahead of election

Italy's former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi is seen during the television talk show "L'aria che tira" in Rome, Italy, January 18, 2018. REUTERS/Remo Casilli

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi said on Monday that his Forza Italia (Go Italy) party would seek to ensure Italy respected the EU's limit on budget deficits if it was elected to power.

The EU limits public sector deficits to 3 percent of GDP. Italy's budget deficit came in at 2.5 percent of gross domestic product in 2016 and was below that level last year, according to Italy's central bank.

"The 3 percent deficit rule can be a debatable one, but we intend on respecting it," Berlusconi told reporters after a meeting at the headquarters of the center-right European People's Party in Brussels.

Berlusconi added that he believed that his taxation plans would lift economic growth in Italy and also reduce the country's high level of sovereign debt.

"Today at 134 percent (of GDP), we want absolutely to reduce this percentage and want to bring it at least to 125 percent," he said.

Opinion polls show the center-right grouping involving Berlusconi is in the lead ahead of an election on March 4.

(Reporting by Robert-Jan Bartunek, writing by Philip Blenkinsop)

People also read these

Dahlmeier powers to third gold medal at biathlon...

Feb 15, 2017

US-BIATHLON-WORLD:Dahlmeier powers to third gold medal at biathlon Worlds

Austrian court backs extradition of Ukraine...

Feb 21, 2017

US-UKRAINE-FIRTASH:Austrian court backs extradition of Ukraine businessman Firtash to U.S.

U.N. nuclear watchdog chief to discuss Iran deal...

Mar 1, 2017

US-UN-NUCLEAR-USA:U.N. nuclear watchdog chief to discuss Iran deal with Trump officials

Turkish media mogul Dogan summoned to court over...

Mar 1, 2017

US-TURKEY-MEDIA:Turkish media mogul Dogan summoned to court over fuel smuggling

Bargain shoppers dominate quiet NHL trade...

Mar 2, 2017

US-ICEHOCKEY-NHL-TRADES:Bargain shoppers dominate quiet NHL trade deadline day

Sign up now!