Italy raises public deficit forecast for 2023



Italian far-right Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni on Friday raised next year’s public deficit forecast in order to finance measures to help households and businesses confront soaring energy prices.

Like other countries in Europe, Italians will face a tough winter with energy bills increasing alongside higher interest rates and inflation.

Meloni, who came to power last month, pledged during the election campaign to control expenditure in a country long plagued by low growth and huge debt. On Friday, after a cabinet meeting, the government agreed to increase the public deficit to 4.5 percent of GDP.

It is above the 3.4 percent forecast by her predecessor Mario Draghi in September, but in line with what Italian media had reported she would do. “This allows us to free up an additional 22 to 23 billion euros (US$22-23 billion) that we intend to devote to the fight against rising energy prices,” Meloni told reporters late Friday. —AFP


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