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Italian PM to EU: 'No room' for modifications on budget

Italian PM to EU: 'No room' for modifications on budget”

European Union sanctions against Russian Federation are damaging Italian businesses, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said on Tuesday, underscoring growing unhappiness in Rome over the long-running curbs on Moscow.

Arriving at the EU summit in Brussels, Conte acknowledged that budget plans to boost welfare spending, cut the retirement age and hike the deficit were unlikely to please the European Commission, which polices euro zone states' fiscal policies. In an interview with Italian journalists by the head of the European Commission added that if Italy does not comply, it may cause a violent reaction of its European partners.

"I don't want us to overdramatize this budget issue, but I want us to return to the application of the European Union rules, not in a strict fashion, but in a fair and wise way", Juncker said.

While the 2.4 percent deficit projected for 2019 is well below the EU's 3 percent limit, it is up sharply from a targeted 1.8 percent this year.

If the European Union executive arm thinks there is a risk of Italy's finances going seriously off track then it must raise the alarm with the government within a week, and issue a negative opinion requesting revisions to the budget within two.

Italian ministers, who have repeatedly bristled at what they see as unnecessary interference from Brussels, urged greater respect for Rome. Although any such procedure is unlikely to end with the application of fines, it would likely generate further tensions between Italy and the EC, and increased volatility in the Italian sovereign bond market.

The magazine later corrected its report and said a letter from the commission would only come after final discussions between Moscovici and the Italian government. "I am increasingly convinced that the financial lobbies in Brussels can not accept our presence in the government", he said.

He said: "I am not going to Moscow because they pay me in roubles, as some have written, but because the problem is resolved with dialogue not with embargoes". It rejects Rome's argument that the package can lower debt by expanding the economy.

"The idea that this budget can blow up Europe is totally unfounded", he said.

In what could be a further source of concern, Deputy Prime Minister Luigi Di Maio, leader of the 5-Star party, said on Wednesday a legislative text on a partial tax amnesty had been "manipulated" before its final approval.

The debt of Italy is mainly concentrated in its banks.

Italy submitted the draft budget at the last minute on Monday night.



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