EU says to review deficit count in boost for Italy

The European Commission said on Wednesday it was ready to accept an Italian request to modify the way public deficits are calculated, which would give Rome more leeway in spending while still respecting EU demands to keep the deficit below 3.0 percent of gross domestic product (GDP).

Italy's government said this was "an important result" since it would give greater flexibility for investments to boost growth in the 2014 budget.

European Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso told the European Parliament meeting in Strasbourg that exceptions were possible "on a case by case basis" to the current method for calculating deficits.

This would be allowed for national spending on, for example, projects co-financed by the European Union and aimed at structural reforms or trans-European transport networks, Barroso said.

"We've done it!" Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta wrote on Twitter after Barroso's comments.

The Commission forecasts Italy's deficit will reach 2.9 percent this year but then go down to 2.5 percent in 2014.

Italy has just been taken out of an excessive deficit procedure by the Commission, which could have led to sanctions.