June 11, 2019 / 5:16 PM / 9 days ago

Let us explain our economic policy, Italian PM tells EU's Juncker

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte speaks at a joint news conference following a cabinet meeting in Rome, Italy, June 11, 2019 REUTERS/Remo Casilli

ROME (Reuters) - Before criticising Italy’s economic policy, European authorities should let the Rome government explain its plans, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said on Tuesday.

Conte was responding to comments by the outgoing European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, who said earlier that Italy was “moving in an unsound direction” and risked getting into the EU’s so-called excessive deficit procedure.

Conte said Juncker had himself in the past admitted making mistakes when dealing with the Greek debt crisis.

“Before expecting us to admit we are mistaken...he should give us the possibility to better explain (our policies),” Conte told reporters in Rome.

He said he would hold a meeting on Wednesday with the leaders of the League and the 5-Star Movement — the two parties in the ruling coalition — to start discussing the 2020 budget, which must be presented in the autumn.

Reporting by Angelo Amante, writing by Silvia Aloisi

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