European Union hands Italy unprecedented budget rebuke for breaching rules

GBP to EUR Oct 21 Daily

The showdown over the government's 2.4% deficit-to-GDP target in the budget is outside of European Union rules and Brussels plans to reject it with a "negative opinion", according to various reports. "But no one will take one euro from this budget".

The EU Commission on Tuesday demanded unprecedented changes to the Italian draft budget for 2019, urging the populist government in Rome to bring their spending plans in line with the bloc's fiscal rules.

Over the weekend Mr Salvini said he would continue to push for the "people's budget" despite looming threats from credit rating agencies like Moody's which downgraded Italian credit to Baa3 status on Friday.

The Italian government wants to spend more on welfare, infrastructure and reduce the retirement age.

"I said that the deficit at 2.4 percent of GDP is the cap".

One hundred basis points of the spread between Italian ten-year government bond yields compared to their German equivalents is linked to the misplaced fear Italy could leave the euro, Deputy Prime Minister Luigi Di Maio said on Monday.

More news: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle "wish for twins"

Italian debt stands at around 130 percent of the country's gross domestic product (GDP), far above the EU's ceiling of 60 percent, and second only to crisis-hit Greece.

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte told journalists on Monday that the budget is created to spur growth and avoid a recession.

A spokeswoman for the economy ministry in Rome defended the expansionary budget and said Italy stuck by its position that the only way to cut public debt was by boosting economic growth.

Italy immediately replied that it would stick to its plans and that the EU Commission had no right to meddle.

"It was a hard decision but necessary given the delay in achieving pre-crisis GDP levels and the dramatic economic situation of the most disadvantaged in Italian society", the letter said.

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