ROME The leader of Italy's ruling Democratic Party (PD) said on Monday the government should row back on a commitment to the European Commission that it would raise excise duties to cut the budget deficit.
Economy Minister Pier Carlo Padoan said in a Feb. 1 letter to the Commission that Rome would adopt extra deficit cuts for this year, as demanded by Brussels, by hiking indirect taxes and excise duties, as well as efforts to combat tax evasion. [nL5N1FM6Z4
PD leader Matteo Renzi, who was prime minister until December, told a party meeting that Paolo Gentiloni's government should correct the deficit by encouraging economic growth, "not by raising excise duties."
(Reporting by Gavin Jones, editing by Steve Scherer)