Italy approves deficit-hiking budget, awaits EU's verdict

Italy approves deficit-hiking budget, awaits EU's verdict

Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, who was elected to the post by Salvini and his coalition partner, M5S leader Luigi Di Maio, echoed Salvini's comments that the coalition was sticking to its pledges.

The European Commission is "very likely" to reject Italy's 2019 budget plan because it's not compatible with the bloc's rules, Commissioner Guenther Oettinger said. The budget proposes increasing both Italy's overall government debt and its deficit in the short run, pushing the deficit as high as 2.4% of GDP over the coming years. However, under European Union rules they are meant to apply for asylum in Italy and not allowed to move to a third country.

"We're going to have a debate virtuous with our Italian friends, who know that their public debt level is too high and that the project budget does not meet in full the recommendations of the Council of ministers, the european Council", he added, stressing the" difference between what was promised and what is presented today".

Late on October 15 the coalition approved the 2019 budget bill that boosts welfare spending, cuts the retirement age and hikes deficit spending. It rejects Rome's argument that the package can lower debt by expanding the economy.

Economy Minister Giovanni Tria said he was confident he could explain to the Commission that Italy needed to raise spending to offset a slowing economy, and described the 2.4 percent deficit target as "normal".

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"Europe works according to pre-established rules before the arrival of governments", Juncker said.

"The idea that this budget can blow up Europe is totally unfounded", he said.

Thanos Vamvakidis, head of G-10 FX strategy at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, told CNBC Tuesday that Italy was breaking the rules.

Salvini on Wednesday called the reported drop-off of the two migrants in a wooded area by two French paramilitary gendarme police - whose van then allegedly drove back across the border at high speed - "an unprecedented affront to our country" and "an global disgrace". Last week, Italian stocks briefly slipped into a bear market, and while they have rebounded a little, they remain subdued - although Italy's benchmark share index, the FTSE MIB is more than 1% higher on Tuesday. A survey by pollster Demopolis on Friday showed 52 percent backed the plan, compared with 38 percent who gave it the thumbs down.

On Monday night, the coalition approved the 2019 budget bill that boosts welfare spending, cuts the retirement age and hikes deficit spending.

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