Rome: The Italian government will do all it can to avoid being slapped with billions of euros of European Union fines over its planned 2.4 percent budget deficit in 2019, Deputy Premier Matteo Salvini said on Tuesday.
“We will do our utmost to avoid the EU’s excessive deficit procedure,” Salvini said. “We are re-doing all our calculations.”
Salvini’s remarks came after he, deputy premier Luigi Di Maio and premier Giuseppe Conte issued a joint statement on Monday, saying the objectives for the 2019 budget had already been fixed.
The European Commission announced last Wednesday that Italy was “sleepwalking into instability” with its big-spending budget which will not cut its massive public debt and which breaches EU borrowing rules.
Opening a case against Italy under the eurozone’s “excessive deficit procedure” was now on the cards, the EU executive said.
Fines under that procedure could start at 0.2 percent Italy’s entire economic output (GDP) — which would measure in the billions of euros.