December 7, 2018 / 4:51 PM / 4 days ago

Italy govt must reduce debt, protect savings-Intesa SP CEO

MILAN, Dec 7 (Reuters) - The Italian government must work to reduce its public debt in order to protect people’s savings, the CEO of the country’s biggest commercial lender Intesa Sanpaolo said.

The European Commission has rejected Rome’s draft budget, which says the deficit will rise to 2.4 percent of gross domestic product next year from 1.8 percent this year. Brussels says it violates previous commitments to reduce borrowing and will not lower Italy’s large public debt.

After weeks of confrontational rhetoric, Italian ministers and the Commission have recently softened their tone and said a compromise needs to be found in order to head off a disciplinary procedure that could end in a fine.

“I believe the gap between what the Commission asks and what the government can do is not so large,” Intesa Sanpaolo CEO Carlo Messina said, speaking on the sidelines of the opening night at La Scala opera house. (Reporting by Sara Rossi; writing by Francesca Landini)

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