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Conte's meeting with Juncker on budget 'positive' says Salvini

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Conte's meeting with Juncker on budget 'positive' says Salvini

Photo: AFP

Premier Giuseppe Conte had a "positive" encounter in Brussels at the weekend with European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker to discuss Italy's contested 2109 spending plans, Italy's powerful deputy premier Matteo Salvini said on Monday.


"It was positive, but I am not going to get into numbers," Salvini told reporters.

The populist government could trim its 2.4 percent deficit target for the 2019 budget, possibly to 2.2 percent, Salvini told Adnkronos on Sunday after Conte, Juncker and Italy's finance minister Giovanni Tria had a working dinner on Saturday ahead of an EU leaders summit.

Italy's planned deficit for the 2019 budget is three times that set by the previous centre-left administration and flouts a requirement to progressively cut spending under EU fiscal rules.

The European Commission said this month that Italy wasn’t respecting EU rules on borrowing, which could lead to fines of 0.2 percent of Italy’s gross domestic product, increasing to 0.5 percent if Rome doesn’t amend its budget.

The big-spending budget, which includes a minimum wage for the poor, a flat tax and lowers the retirement age, fails to cut Italy's massive public debt as required by EU rules and won't achieve the promised growth, according to the Commission.

Brussels forecasts Italy's deficit will reach 2.9 percent of GDP next year and 3.1 percent in 2020, breaching the EU's 3.0 percent limit.



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