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Salvini upbeat on dialogue with EU over Italy's budget

29 novembre 2018 | 16.24
LETTURA: 1 minuti

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Italy's deputy premier Matteo Salvini on Thursday said he was "optimistic" that negotiations between the populist government and European Union officials over its big-spending budget would bear fruit.

"I am optimistic, I am confident," Salvini told Italy's La7 television channel.

"The budget affects millions of Italians and contains a series of measures. We want to be as precise as possible with the numbers," he said.

The ruling populist coalition said on Monday it would review its main budget measures, possibly trimming the deficit target of 2.4 percent of GDP - triple that set by the previous government - which flouts a requirement to progressively cut spending under EU fiscal rules.

The expansionary 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 European Commission.

The Commission took a first step last week to disciplining Italy over the budget after Rome refused to change it.

Opening a case against Italy under the eurozone's "excessive deficit procedure" was now on the cards, the EU executive said.

Fines under that procedure could start at 0.2 percent of Italy's entire economic output (GDP) - which would measure in the billions of euros.

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