October 18, 2019 / 4:49 PM / a month ago

EU to ask Italy for clarifications on its 2020 draft budget

FILE PHOTO: European Commissioner-designate for An Economy that Works for People Valdis Dombrovskis of Latvia attends his hearing before the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium October 8, 2019. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The European Commission will ask Italy for clarifications over its 2020 draft budget, Commission Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis said on Friday.

Under EU rules, euro zone countries have to send in their draft budgets for the following year to the European Commission each year by Oct 15th for checks if they do not break EU rules.

Last year, the Commission asked seven of the 19 countries sharing the euro to make additional clarifications — a step that does not mean the drafts would be rejected.

Last year only Italy, whose draft budget blatantly broke EU rules, was eventually asked to submit a new one, sparking a huge political clash with Rome and a surge in Italian bond yields.

“Where we see risks of deviation from EU fiscal rules, we ask for additional clarification from those countries. Italy is going to be among those countries that we will ask for additional clarifications,” Dombrovskis told Reuters in an interview on the sidelines of the IMF meetings in Washington.

Italy’s draft 2020 budget assumes a rise in the structural deficit, the measure excluding business cycle swings and one off expenditure and revenue, of 0.1% of GDP, while under EU rules this deficit should fall 0.6% of GDP.

Reporting By Jan Strupczewski

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