January 22, 2018 / 12:00 PM / 9 months ago

Berlusconi backs EU rules on deficits ahead of election

BRUSSELS, Jan 22 (Reuters) - Former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi said on Monday that his Forza Italia (Go Italy) party would seek to ensure that 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 in Brussels.

Opinion polls show the centre-right grouping involving Berlusconi is in the lead ahead of an election on March 4. (Reporting by Robert-Jan Bartunek, writing by Philip Blenkinsop)

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