The Eurogroup asks Italy to cooperate with the EC and change its budget
The finance and economic ministers of the Eurozone today urged Italy to cooperate with the European Commission (EC) and submit a revised budget for 2019 that complies with EU standards, as requested by the EU Executive.
"We expect Italy and the EC to engage in an open and constructive dialogue and for Italy to cooperate closely with the Commission in the preparation of a revised budget plan that is in line with the Stability and Growth Pact," they said in a statement issued at the end of a meeting focused on the accounts of the transalpine country.
The ministers stressed that they agree with the evaluation made by the EC, which gave Italy until November 13 to send a revised budget draft for 2019 after finding that the one sent by the Government of Rome clearly violates the adjustment required by Brussels.
The Eurogroup also underlined the importance of having sound public finances and that these are coordinated within the framework of the Stability and Growth Pact as a "prerequisite to maintain sustainable and sustainable economic growth and smooth functioning" of the Economic and Monetary Union .
In this sense, they argued that the sufficient reduction of the public debt and the fulfillment of the budgetary objectives of the countries are an "integral part" of the community norms.
The president of the Eurogroup, Mário Centeno, expressed during a press conference after the meeting his hope that the "constructive" dialogue between Rome and Brussels "will bear fruit" when it comes to "reassuring" European partners and markets with regarding Italy's commitments to "solid" public finances.
The Italian Minister of Economy, Giovanni Tria, said at the end of the meeting that the budget project does not change for now since they are still "discussing" with the European Commission, which is their interlocutor in this phase of the process and with which they must Find a commitment until November 13, not with the Eurogroup.
Tria argued that his budget draft foresees a decline in public debt of four percentage points in three years and that the Italian risk premium will fall when the strategy of the Italian government "is better understood."
Brussels requires Italy a structural adjustment of 0.6% of GDP while the Government's current plan contemplates an expansion close to 0.9% that would bring the deficit to 2.4% of GDP in a country with a debt exceeding 131%. % of GDP.
This significant deviation, defended by the Italian Government as "necessary", could lead the Commission to open a procedure to Italy for its high debt, which could even end in sanctions, if the Executive of Rome does not change the accounts.
It is the first time that the Commission asks a country for a revised budget draft.