The euro zone finance ministers met again on Monday with the Italian head of Finance, Giovanni Tria, after, in an unprecedented decision, the European Commission decided return the accounts for not complying with the commitments made. Italy, whose debt exceeds 130% of GDP, presented a draft Budget with a deficit target of 2.4% GDP, instead of 0.8% that was set by the previous executive.
In a step more in that escalation, the vice president of the Italian Government, Luigo Di Maio, assured in an interview in Financial Times that Italy tries to emulate the United States. That is to say: more spending, less taxes and, therefore, more deficit. Tria, however, came with a more conciliatory profile. According to sources of the Italian Executive, the minister admitted the deviation of his deficit but considered that it did not overflow the Stability and Growth Pact and promised to continue dialogue to find a way out of the conflict between Brussels and Rome.
The European Commission has decided to go "step by step", in the words of Moscovici, and to comply scrupulously with all the steps foreseen by the procedure before entering into a war with Italy. "Dialogue, dialogue, dialogue", insisted Moscovici. "I hope the Italian government sees the hand of the Commission and can find a common solution in the coming weeks," he urged the French Minister of Finance, Bruno Le Maire. Even his Dutch counterpart and firm advocate of fiscal discipline, Wopke Hoekstra, limited himself to that call to speak. "It's a dialogue between the Commission and Italy. It's up to Italy to respond, "he said.
"Open and constructive dialogue"
Finally, the euro countries issued a statement in which they expressed their support for the Commission, waiting for a gesture from Italy that would allow the situation to be resolved. "We hope that Italy and the EC will engage in an open and constructive dialogue and that Italy will cooperate closely with the Commission in the preparation of a revised budget plan that is in line with the Stability and Growth Pact," the Nineteen agreed at the end of the meeting. informal.
The countries of the euro zone brought to Italy two arguments: their plan has all the numbers to crash with the markets and, therefore, remain on paper. And two, in case that happens, it is not a problem only of Italy, but of the entire euro zone. Anyway, in that "step by step" that expressed Moscovici is foreseen a new movement next week, when Italy will respond, according to sources of the government of Giuseppe Conte, to the letter of the Commission. It may be the previous step to a conciliation or the implementation of an unpublished procedure for the community executive.