The EU on Wednesday issued a double warning to Rome about the precarious state of Italian public finances. The European Commission expressed its concerns over last year’s debt at the same time Italy’s populist leaders examine the possibility of flouting eurozone budget discipline and reversing unpopular economic reforms. Brussels took issue with the country’s rising level of debt in a letter to Economy Minister Giovanni Tria. “Italy is confirmed not to have made sufficient progress toward the debt reduction criterion in 2018,” said the letter, signed by EU Commission Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis and the bloc’s Economy Commissioner Pierre Moscovici. Italy only won EU approval for its 2019 budget after reducing its deficit to levels that were deemed to be acceptable. However, Rome went on to roll back austerity-inspired reforms and far-right deputy premier Matteo Salvini is now promising big tax cuts. The Commission gave the Italian government until Friday to respond with arguments disputing its assessment. The country could eventually face fines although these would only come after an extended period of non-compliance. Two warnings in one day Brussels is releasing assessments of fiscal compliance across the Eurozone next Wednesday when it could open an excessive debt procedure against… Read full this story
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