The leader of the 5 Star Movement (M5S) and Vice President of Italy, Luigi Di Maio, explained today that the letter that Italy will send to the European Commission (EC) tomorrow to answer the doubts about its budgets for 2019 will defend the deficit in the 2 , 4% of gross domestic product (GDP).
"The letter of tomorrow will explain the reasons for our budgets and will say that (…), with the debt that the previous governments have left us and a slowdown in growth, the deficit for this year will be 2%, so only we will increase 0.4% next, "he explained in a program on Italian public television.
If what Di Maio has achieved is finally achieved, it will mean that the Executive, made up of the M5S and the League, continues to maintain its position despite the Commission's concerns, a situation that, if prolonged, could lead to a major crisis between the country and Brussels.
The Italian government wants to implement its electoral promises, even more so when the elections close to the European Parliament next May and the two parties that govern the country want to demonstrate that they fulfill their commitments.
But the measures need significant funding and therefore the administration chaired by the jurist Giuseppe Conte wants to expand public spending and has set a deficit target for next year of 2.4% of GDP, triple the amount estimated by the previous Government, which predicted that it would be 0.8% by 2019.
The Commission has already expressed its concerns about these issues and on October 18 the European Commissioner for Economic Affairs, Pierre Moscovici, handed over in Rome the Italian Minister of Economy, Giovanni Tria, a letter with the concerns of the EC, to the that the country has to respond.
If the EC considers the answers unsatisfactory, it could reject the initial document and ask for a new draft, something that has never happened and that, if it were to occur, would open a very important institutional conflict and could even lead to Rome facing sanctions.
The 5 Stars and the League believe that leaving the deficit at 2.4% of GDP next year and keeping the debt at 130%, practically like the current one, will achieve a growth of 1.5%, a figure far from the 1% estimated by the International Monetary Fund.
The leader of the M5S, who is also Minister of Economic and Labor Development, expressed the hope that the dialogue with the EC will help both parties to "share the objectives".
The tensions between Italy and the EC concern the markets and on October 19 the Italian risk premium, which measures the differential between the Italian ten-year bond and the German bond of the same period, shot up to 336 basis points, reaching maximum levels since March 2013.
Di Maio referred to this nervousness and tried to reassure investors by guaranteeing that Italy does not want to leave the euro or the European Union, something he has repeated in the last hours.
"As long as he remains the leader of the M5S and while this government lasts, there will be no intention to leave the EU or the eurozone," he insisted.