Italy could get “flexibility” from the European Union over its heavy debt load because of the coronavirus crisis it is facing, the bloc’s economic affairs commissioner suggested.
Under the EU’s stability and growth pact, “There are flexibility clauses that apply in circumstances deemed exceptional,” commissioner, Paolo Gentiloni said.
He was responding to statements from Rome asking the European Commission to ease up on Italy over its worrisome public debt mountain – which in 2018 totaled 135 percent of gross domestic output – because of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Italy is the EU country that has been hit hardest by the virus, registering 12 deaths and more than 300 cases of infection. Concerns are mounting that the crisis could damage the country’s already fragile economy.
Rome had already received such flexibility several years ago when it coped with an earthquake.