Martedì, 18 Settembre 2018

Italy's audit court sounds alarm over growth


(By Gordon Sorlini)
Rome, May 28 - The head of Italy's Audit Court on
Tuesday said harsh austerity measures helped push Italy and
Europe deeper into economic stagnation and called for more
measures to stimulate growth to help lift the country out of
However, Luigi Giampaolino, the president of the court,
also warned there was not much scope for reducing the tax burden
pressure if Italy wants to respect its budget commitments to the
Speaking during the presentation of the Audit Court's 2013
report, which examines Italy's public finances, Giampaolino,
said: ''The intensity of the austerity measures adopted by
European countries was, itself, a major cause of the spiral
towards recession''.
However, he said, ''what Italy and Europe needs is stimulus
aimed at more growth'', adding that the suspension of spending
curbs was not going to kick-start the economy.
Outlining the severity of the country's economic hardship,
Giampaolino said that the nominal contraction of Italian gross
domestic product (GDP) in the 2009-2013 period totalled more
than 230 billion euros.
The loss of GDP, the Audit Court chief said, has been
''translated into a drop in the overall tax take but not in a
drop in the tax burden'' in the country.
Italy, which is the eurozone's third-largest economy,
failed to meet its balanced budget objective this year by 50
million euros, Giampaolino said during the presentation.
The message was that there are no easy solutions to the
country's economic troubles, especially as the country's tax
burden - one of the highest in the EU - is unlikely to come down
Reducing the tax burden ''is not easy to combine with the
respect of European objectives,'' Giampaolino said.
He also said the idea of finding money for cutting taxes
through rationalizing public expenditures was an ''illusion.''
Giampaolino added, however, that he saw signs Premier
Enrico Letta's new government was attempting to break with the
previous government's heavy reliance on tax increases in order
to meet budgetary targets agreed with the EU.
During the presentation of the public finances report he
''The passage to the new parliamentary term seems to mark a
first attempt to operate in discontinuity with budget policies
which - starting from the summer of 2011 - had to rely on
significant tax increases, despite the serious recessionary
conditions the economy was going through''.

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