September 28, 2018 / 7:32 AM / 2 months ago

EU's Moscovici says in Italy's interest to respect budget rules

FILE PHOTO: European Economic and Financial Affairs Commissioner Pierre Moscovici looks on during a news conference in Brussels, Belgium August 20, 2018. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir

PARIS (Reuters) - There is nothing to be gained from a showdown with Italy over its budget targets but Rome has every interest in respecting EU fiscal rules, EU Economic Commissioner Pierre Moscovici said on Friday.

“We have no interest in a crisis between the (European) Commission and Italy, nobody has an interest because Italy is a an important euro zone country,” Moscovici said on France’s BFM TV.

“But we don’t have any interest either that Italy does not respect the rules and does not reduce its debt, which remains explosive,” he added.

On Thursday, Italy’s government targeted the budget deficit at 2.4 percent of gross domestic product for the next three years, defying Brussels and marking a victory for party chiefs over economy minister Giovanni Tria, an unaffiliated technocrat.

Reporting by Leigh Thomas; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta

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