Italy's official data agency threatens strike over cuts

Italy's state statistics agency Istat threatened on Thursday to stop putting out any official data starting from January 2013 if the government goes ahead with budget cuts.

"Requests keep going up but our human and budget resources are going down," Istat head Enrico Giovannini said in an interview with La Repubblica.

"The budget cuts really put Istat at risk," he said.

Istat's budget has already been slashed by 29 million euros ($35 million) over three years as part of austerity measures and is set to be cut by a further three million euros a year under government proposals made last week.

Giovannini warned that if Istat stopped putting out statistics the government faced "heavy fines" from the European Union for every day of delay.

"Around 70 percent of our production of statistics is based on commitments with the European Union," Giovannini he said.

Prime Minister Mario Monti's government last week adopted a further round of austerity measures to cut spending by 4.5 billion euros in 2012, 10 billion euros in 2013 and another 10 billion euros in 2014.

Source: AFP

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