Nov 13 (Reuters) - The Italian government declared its economic growth forecasts to be non-negotiable on Tuesday, hours before it is due to respond to criticism from the European Commission that its 2019 budget rests on an overly optimistic outlook.
The commission last month rejected Rome’s proposed budget targets, which included a big expansion of the deficit, saying it relied on optimistic growth assumptions and calling on the government to submit a revised budget plan.
The government must respond to the Commission’s demand by Tuesday night, and a government source has told Reuters that Economy Minister Giovanni Tria could trim the budget’s 1.5 growth forecast for next year.
“The growth rate is non-negotiable,” Tria said in a brief statement on Tuesday in response to media reports.
“The growth forecasts are in fact the result of an extremely technical evaluation. For this reason they cannot become the object of negotiation from inside or outside the government.”