European Commission rejects Italian government's spending plans

23 Octobre, 2018, 22:29 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau

The European Commission on Tuesday will discuss the Italian budget at a meeting of commissioners.... the first formal step of a procedure that could end in the rejection of Italy's budget plan and imposition of fines on the country. "This is the first Italian budget that was written in Rome and not in Brussels".

"It doesn't surprise me: it's the first Italian move that has been decided in Rome and not in Brussels!"

The Italian government's decision is part of its aim to deliver on campaign promises made by the coalition partners, the populist 5 Star Movement and League parties.

Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini said the government was convinced it was "in the right".

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Commission Vice-President for the Euro Valdis Dombrovskis said Italy's response to the commission's concerns was "not sufficient" to assuage fears and the euro's rules were the same for everybody.

The EU executive warned last week in a letter to Rome that the budget represented an "unprecedented" deviation from Italy's previous fiscal commitments, while Italian ministers have traded insults with commissioners. "These are things that will anger Italians even more and then people complain that the popularity of the European Union is at its lowest", he told journalists.

The Commission believes Italy's growth assumptions are overly optimistic making the debt reduction plan questionable.

Under EU law, Italy should cut its public debt every year by 1/20 of the difference between 60 percent of GDP and its current size, counted on average over three years - in Italy's case meaning several percent of GDP a year.

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