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Still stuck in economic crisis, Italy sets back again date to balance budget; now aim is 2016

Italian Finance Minister Pier Carlo Padoan, left, speaks with Great Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne, during the International Monetary and Financial Committee (IMFC) meeting, Saturday, April 12, 2014, at World Bank Group-International Monetary Fund Spring Meetings in Washington. ( AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

Italian Finance Minister Pier Carlo Padoan, left, speaks with Great Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne, during the International Monetary and Financial Committee (IMFC) meeting, Saturday, April 12, 2014, at World Bank Group-International Monetary Fund Spring Meetings in Washington. ( AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)  (The Associated Press)

Italy has again pushed back its balanced-budget goal, now aiming for 2016.

Finance Minister Pier Carlo Padoan wrote to the European Commission this week, saying that because of Italy's stubborn economic crisis, it's now aiming for a balanced structural budget in 2016. In 2011, then-Premier Silvio Berlusconi had promised that Italy would balance its budget by 2013. But with the country mired in recession, in 2012, during economist Mario Monti's government, the date was rolled back to 2015.

The Senate Thursday approved the 2016 target.

Padoan cited Italy's decision to accelerate payment of the remaining amount of public debt arrears as a key factor in the pushback.

Many private businesses had said they risked failure if the government didn't pay what it owed them for services and goods.