LUXEMBOURG (Reuters) - The European Commission hopes that Italy will bring its 2019 budget draft in line with European Union budget rules and is open to dialogue, Commission Vice President for the euro Valdis Dombrovskis said on Tuesday.
EU budget rules, called the Stability and Growth Pact, say that euro zone governments have to bring their structural budget balance, which excludes one-offs and the effects of business cycles, to balance or surplus.
Italy wants to increase its deficit, even though it has the second highest public debt in the euro zone after Greece in terms of GDP.
“What we see currently now seems to be not compliant with the Stability and Growth Pact but we are open to dialogue with the Italian authorities and hope that the budget will be brought in line with the requirements of the Stability and Growth Pact,” Dombrovskis said.
Asked about comments of Claudio Borghi, the economic head of Italy’s ruling League party, that Italy would enjoy more favorable conditions outside the euro, Dombrovskis said he would not be drawn into such speculations.
Reporting By Jan Strupczewski; editing by Philip Blenkinsop