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EU bids to beat the budget blues

Wednesday, November 16, 2016 - 01:49

Ministers brace for an intense round of EU budget negotiations ahead of a Thursday deadline, with Italy complaining not enough spending is planned for handling migration, security threats and youth unemployment. In the meantime, Italy has been named as one of six countries in breach of EU rules on their own budgets. David Pollard reports.

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Tricky talks ahead as EU finance officials try to iron out budget differences. Before a November 17 deadline. SOUNDBITE (English) KRISTALINA GEORGIEVA, EUROPEAN COMMISSIONER, BUDGET AND HUMAN RESOURCES, SAYING: "It is a moment when we need to mobilise resources to deliver on the two priorities to our people: safety-security, dealing with the refugee crisis, creating jobs and stimulating growth. It is a common objective of all of us." Though there's no common agreement yet on how much more should be spent. The current EU budget is worth around one per cent of EU GDP. An additional 13 billion euros earmarked as part of a review. But Italy wants extra on top of that. Its Europe minister, Sandro Gozi, complaining of a Europe that says things - but doesn't do them. (SOUNDBITE) (English) CHIEF INVESTMENT OFFICER, CCLA INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT, JAMES BEVAN, SAYING: "We do now need proper fiscal policy to drive growth and I do anticipate that there will be a rising tide of politicians who call for more fiscal expansion." In the meantime, Italy is at risk of breaking EU rules for its own budget next year. The European Commission hinting it saw some good reasons why. (SOUNDBITE) (English) EUROPEAN ECONOMIC AND FINANCIAL AFFAIRS COMMISSIONER, PIERRE MOSCOVICI, SAYING: "A significant part of the deviation is due to the cost associated with seismic activity in the country, which has been very serious this year and dramatic and also to the management of migration inflows and we will take that into account." Italy is not the only one: the Commission listing five others who could potentially breach budget rules. But the Commission making it clear anyway that it favours looser fiscal policy to spur sluggish euro zone growth.

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EU bids to beat the budget blues

Wednesday, November 16, 2016 - 01:49