Monti Closes Campaign On Solemn Note

Category: Politics / Feb 22, 2013 3:20PM EDT
Italy's caretaker Prime Minister Mario Monti ended his re-election campaign on Friday (February 22) by greeting EU predictions of a modest recovery as a validation of his time in office, two days before the election. Despite the European Commission forecasting that Italy's economy will shrink one percent in 2013, Monti remained upbeat about the future. "This morning, two things were announced, one: that Italy it is expected to get out of recession from the middle of 2013," Monti told supporters in a theatre in Florence. "The European Commission confirmed that Italy has corrected its budget deficit and in the next few years we expect it to meet its objectives, he said. Since taking office in November 2011, Monti has introduced a series of austerity measures and fought to bring the country's borrowing back under control. Italians go to the polls this weekend with the economy mired in its longest recession for 20 years, having contracted in every quarter since the middle of 2011. The commission's forecast is in line with Bank of Italy estimate that also sees a fall of 1 percent of GDP this year, but is more pessimistic than the government's forecast for a 0.2 percent decline in GDP this year. The commission also hiked its unemployment forecasts for the country, predicting the unemployment rate would rise to 11.6 percent this year and 12 percent in 2014. video courtesy Reuters