March 5, 2020 / 6:41 AM / a month ago

Italy may raise coronavirus support spending to 5 bln euros - deputy economy minister

ROME, March 5 (Reuters) - Italy’s government is likely to increase to 5 billion euros ($5.57 billion) the value of measures to help the economy withstand the largest outbreak of coronavirus in Europe, Deputy Economy Minister Laura Castelli said on Thursday.

“It is likely that the government will reach (5 billion euros)” Castelli said in an interview with daily Il Messaggero, adding that she thought it was “necessary to raise the bar as much as possible”.

Economy Minister Roberto Gualtieri has promised tax breaks and other measures for the affected sectors worth 3.6 billion euros. A government source told Reuters on Wednesday this may be raised to 4.5 billion, or 0.25% of GDP.

Castelli added that Rome was considering asking for a temporary suspension of the European Stability and Growth Pact.

$1 = 0.8979 euros Reporting by Francesca Piscioneri, writing by Giulia Segreti; Editing by Kim Coghill

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