Italy's Di Maio opens to deficit target reduction if budget measures remain

FILE PHOTO: Italian Minister of Labor and Industry Luigi Di Maio speaks at the Italian Business Association Confcommercio meeting in Rome, Italy, June 7, 2018. REUTERS/Tony Gentile

ROME (Reuters) - Ahead of a government meeting to discuss revising the goals in next year’s budget, Italy’s Deputy Prime Minister Luigi Di Maio opened up to reducing the 2019 deficit target as long as the measures in the draft bill remain the same.

“As we have said, citizens are more important than numbers,” Di Maio, who is also leader of the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement, said in an interview with Radio Radicale.

“What is important is that the budget contains the goals that we have established,” he said, citing measures including a citizen’s income and an increase in retirement age. “Then if the negotiation means that the deficit (target) must come down a bit, for us it’s not important.”

Reporting by Steve Scherer; editing by Agnieszka Flak