Friday, 24 May 2024

Italy tells euro zone peers working on compromise over budget: official

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Italian Finance Minister Giovanni Tria told his euro zone peers on Monday he was working to reach a compromise in a dispute with the European Commission over Italy’s 2019 draft budget that breaks European Union rules, an Italian official said.

Italy’s draft budget, which envisages an increase in the structural deficit by 0.8 percent of GDP next year rather than the 0.6 percent of GDP decrease required by EU rules, was rejected by the European Commission last month.

The official said it was premature at this stage to say whether Italy would change its budget, which European peers asked Rome to change.

The Italian eurosceptic government has until Nov. 13 to send Brussels a new draft budget that would be in line with EU rules or face a disciplinary process that could end with a fine of 0.2 percent of GDP.

The official said Italy will reply by the deadline, but did not clarify what it will say in its letter to Brussels.

The official stressed European rules allow for deviations from targets, and insisted Italy’s deviation was not very significant.

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