October 3, 2018 / 10:55 AM / a year ago

EU executive to assess Italy's 2019 budget but in context of forecasts for 2020, 2021

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Commission will assess Italy’s draft budget for 2019 only but do so in the context of its economic forecasts for growth, debt and deficit developments for 2020 and 2021, a Commission spokesman said on Wednesday.

The Commission said earlier this week that Rome’s planned budget deficit of 2.4 percent of GDP in 2019, 2020 and 2021 was breaking EU budget rules, because it meant Italy would not be cutting its structural deficit or huge public debt.

Rome responded on Wednesday by saying it would keep the deficit in 2019 at 2.4 but could agree to reduce the gap in 2020 and 2021.

Asked if the Commission would assess Italy’s budget only for 2019 when Rome submits its draft to Brussels on Oct 15th, or also the deficit plan for 2020 and 2021, the spokesman said the assessment would concern only 2019.

He added it would do so in the context of the Commission’s own economic forecasts for 2020 and 2021.

Reporting By Jan Strupczewski; Editing by Alissa de Carbonnel

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