Italy has highest deficit in EU

  • World
  • Thursday, 20 Jun 2024

ROME, June 19 (Xinhua) -- Italy has the highest government deficit in the European Union (EU), according to a list of seven EU member states announced Wednesday by the European Commission in tackling member countries' over-sized deficits.

The Commission is beginning to enforce government deficit rules after suspending them during the coronavirus pandemic, and the energy crisis caused by the global spike in energy prices in the wake of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

EU data shows that Italy has a budget deficit equivalent to 7.4 percent of the country's gross domestic product (GDP). At 6.7 percent, Hungary has the next-largest deficit.

The other countries named in the Commission procedure against over-sized deficits were Belgium, France, Malta, Poland, and Slovakia.

Italian Minister of Finance Giancarlo Giorgetti said the procedure was to be expected, and that it would be addressed in the country's next budget law for the fiscal year 2025.

A government's deficit is the amount it spends compared to its tax revenue. EU fiscal rules require the deficit to remain within 3.0 percent of GDP, and Eurostat has confirmed that 11 countries have deficits above that level. Meanwhile, Cyprus, Denmark, Ireland, and Portugal had budget surpluses.

On average, deficits for EU countries stand at 3.5 percent of GDP.

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