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EU's Gentiloni targets individual debt limits for states under reform plan

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FILE PHOTO: Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni attends the annual end-of-year news conference at Montecitorio government palace in Rome

BERLIN (Reuters) - The European Union's Economy Commissioner wants to set debt limits on an individual basis for member states under a proposed reform of the EU Stability Pact that he aims to present around mid-2022, he told daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.

Paolo Gentiloni called in November for a debate on reforming EU debt rules in view of the economic strains caused by the coronavirus crisis.

"We cannot lump all countries together. The differences in the (current) debt ratios are too high for that," Gentiloni was quoted by the newspaper as saying on Wednesday.

State support and investment programmes to counter the economic impact of COVID-19 have sent many EU states' debt levels soaring beyond the Stability Pact's current 60% of gross domestic product limit.

Gentiloni said his reform would set individual debt goals for each country, adding that the Commission should be given more effective instruments to enforce budget rules.

He rejected a proposal by Klaus Regling, the head of the euro zone bailout fund, to raise the debt limit to 100% of GDP for all states.

"That just doesn't correspond to my idea of ​​a differentiated view of the states," he told the FAZ.

(Reporting by Riham Alkousaa; editing by John Stonestreet)

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