November 5, 2018 / 2:22 PM / 11 days ago

EU waiting for Italy's revised 2019 budget before any further steps- Moscovici

BRUSSELS, Nov 5 (Reuters) - The European Commission has not yet made a decision to launch disciplinary steps against Italy over its 2019 budget because it is still waiting for Rome to send a revised draft that would meet EU rules, European Economic Commissioner Pierre Moscovici said.

Moscovici was speaking on Monday ahead of a meeting of euro zone finance ministers, which is to discuss the Commission’s unprecedented rejection of Italy’s 2019 draft budget.

The draft breaks EU rules because it envisages a large increase of the structural deficit rather a reduction required by EU laws. Italy has until November 13 to send in a revised draft 2019 budget to Brussels.

The Commission will issue its opinions on all the euro zone’s draft budget plans, including Italy’s revised plan, on November 21 and EU officials have said the EU executive was ready to start disciplinary steps against Rome unless the new draft is in line with EU rules.

“If the idea is that we have already taken decisions (on disciplinary action) it is wrong,” Moscovici said, adding the Commission was now waiting for the revised plan that would show the structural deficit falling.

He said the Commission opinion on Nov. 21 would depend on the response it gets from Italy. (Reporting By Jan Strupczewski and Francesco Guarascio; editing by Philip Blenkinsop)

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