VALLETTA, Feb 3 (Reuters) - Italy will respect European Union budget rules and avoid any official rebuke from Brussels, but at the same time will not depress its economy, Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni said on Friday.
"I have often repeated these past days that Italy has decided to respect European rules in this economic cycle and will do so in a time, place and manner that will not depress our economy," Gentiloni said during an EU summit in Malta.
He dismissed suggestions that Italy might be the target of an EU infraction procedure over its contested 2017 budget. "I don't think Italy runs this risk," he said. (Reporting by Steve Scherer, editing by Crispian Balmer)