José Manuel Barroso, President of the EU Commission, announced that Brussels is ready to "consider allowing temporary deviations from the achievement of the medium-term targets" that will allow productive public investments, to be co-financed by the EU.
Such deviations must be accepted by Brussels on a case-by-case basis, but the positive result for Italy is clear. "We did it!" was the enthusiastic reaction on Twitter by the Italian premier Enrico Letta to the announcement, which came after the end with no consequences of an infringement procedure for excessive deficit.
The Prime Minister satisfaction is fully justified: Barroso's words represent a prize for what Italy has done to comply with tough financial and budgetary discipline. According to ANCE ( the Italian National Builders Association), new investment in infrastructure could amount up to 7.5 billion per year.
The Commission has found new ways to help countries whose budgets are within the limits of the Stability Pact (and are not subject to the excessive deficit procedure), in order to allow governments to extend public investments. In other words, Brussels accepted more flexibility in public accounts.
The new challenge the Italian government is facing now lies in the necessity of enacting a serious development strategy that brings new jobs, makes the job market more dynamic and reduces taxes on workers and employers. Meanwhile, the European Parliament has accepted the EU's multi-annual budget for 2014-2020. A large majority (474 yes, 193 no, 42 abstentions) approved the bipartisan resolution. For the final approval, the legislative text of the multi-annual budget will be submitted to the plenary Assembly, but a positive result can be taken for granted.