May 14, 2015 / 7:43 AM / 2 years ago

Italy economy minister hopes for growth surprise in 2015

Italy's Minister of Economy and Finance Pier Carlo Padoan in Washington October 9, 2014. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

TBLISI (Reuters) - Italy’s struggling economy may do better than expected after showing its first clear signs of revival in more than a year in the first quarter, Economy Minister Pier Carlo Padoan said on Thursday.

“I think this is going in the right direction and we expect to get stronger growth throughout the year. The numbers are coming out better than expected. We hope to get a surprise on the upside,” he told Reuters at the margins of a meeting of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development in Tblisi.

Italy posted 0.3 percent growth in the first quarter on Wednesday, the first time it had reported an expansion in gross domestic product since the third quarter of 2013. The government’s official forecast is for 0.7 percent growth in 2015, following three consecutive years of declining GDP.

Padoan also said that Greece’s eurozone partners were strongly committed to reaching a deal with Athens over its increasingly desperate financial position.

“What needs to be done is that the Greek government commits to a very important set of measures, not large but substantial. Tax and pensions for instance, they need to commit strongly to these areas,” he said.

Reporting by Marc Jones

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