October 5, 2018 / 7:59 PM / a month ago

Italy's budget is a source of 'serious concern' - letter from EU Commission

FILE PHOTO: Valdis Dombrovskis attend a news conference at the Finance Ministry in Athens, Greece, June 15, 2018. REUTERS/Costas Baltas/File Photo

ROME (Reuters) - The targets set out in Italy’s budget plan are a “source of serious concern”, the European Commission said in a letter published by Italian daily la Repubblica late on Friday.

“We call on the Italian authorities to ensure that the (budget) will be in compliance with the common fiscal rules and look forward to seeing the details of the measures,” added the letter, signed by the Commission’s Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis and the EU Economics Affairs Commissioner Pierre Moscovici.

The daily only published excerpts of the letter, which was two pages long and was sent on Friday to Italian Economy Minister Tria, it reported.

The two officials also said that the EU Commission was “available for constructive dialogue”.

The Italian government this week unveiled the core of its expansionary multi-year budget plan, raising the target for the fiscal deficit to 2.4 percent of gross domestic product next year, three times the 0.8 percent goal set by the previous centre-left administration.

The deficit is projected to ease gradually in the following two years to 2.1 percent and then 1.8 percent, while remaining far above targets previously agreed with the European Commission.

Moscovici has already warned that the package might not respect EU regulations but a Commission spokeswoman said on Friday that Brussels would only react to the budget plan when it will be formally delivered by an Oct. 15 deadline.

Reporting by Giulia Segreti; Editing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg

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