The EC confirmed today that it has received the response from the Italian government after warning Rome in a letter last Thursday of a "particularly serious breach" in its draft budgets for 2019 for the increase in spending and public debt that it foresees.
"I can confirm, indeed, that the response of the Italian authorities has just arrived," said the chief spokesman of the European Commission (EC), Margaritis Schinas, during the daily press conference of the institution.
He added that the college of European commissioners, at its meeting on Tuesday, will analyze the situation and determine what steps to take.
European standards allow the Commission to reject a draft budget when there is a serious breach and request a new one to the country in question, a situation that has never been done before.
In the Thursday letter sent from Brussels to Rome, the EC asked for explanations about the "reasons" for which it is planning "an obvious significant deviation with respect to the recommendations" that were made to it under the Stability and Growth Pact.
The Italian government has set a deficit target for the coming year of 2.4% of gross domestic product (GDP), triple the amount estimated by the previous government, which predicted that it would be 0.8% by 2019.
The leader of the 5 Star Movement (M5S) and vice president of Italy, Luigi Di Maio, already announced yesterday that the letter addressed to the European Commission to answer the doubts about its budgets would defend that data.
"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.
Meanwhile, the European Commissioner for Economic Affairs, Pierre Moscovici, stressed today that the Italian budget does not respect the common rules of the euro zone, but also that they do not want a crisis with their Government and that they will maintain "a constructive dialogue" after the ultimatum of this noon.
The Italian Government had to respond to the Commission before 12.00 today.