Italian Premier Mario Monti continued his drive to get the European Union to do more to promote growth on Wednesday when he suggested exempting some technology investments from budget-deficit calculations.
Italy, like many countries hit by the eurozone debt crisis, is suffering the effects of austerity after Monti's emergency government of technocrats passed a tough package of tax hikes and spending cuts in December.
The former European commissioner, who replaced Silvio Berlusconi as premier in November, is now seeking to put growth at the top of both the domestic and European agendas.
He proposed that "investments in broadband and the digital agenda" should be encouraged by leaving them out, for three years, of the calculations for the Fiscal Compact that European leaders recently signed in order to protect the euro.
Monti added that there would "nothing evasive" in this for budget discipline. The premier, who recently said Italy would come close to hitting its target of balancing the budget next year, also applauded the importance French president-elect Francois Hollande has given to promoting economic growth. "The greater warmth, the greater insistence that Hollande puts on the issue of growth is welcomed by Italy," he said. "I think this can be reconciled with budget discipline".