October 1, 2018 / 2:14 PM / 8 months ago

EU reaction to Italy's budget will be step by step: France's Le Maire

LUXEMBOURG (Reuters) - The French Finance Minister said on Monday Italy and all euro zone states should abide by European Union fiscal rules, after Italy announced plans for a large deficit.

Bruno Le Maire said “all states have to do their best to stick to commitments” when asked about Italy’s fiscal plans.

At a news conference before a meeting of euro zone finance ministers in Luxembourg, Le Maire said states were waiting for the Commission’s assessment of the Italian budget.

“I think we have to go step by step,” he told reporters, clarifying that after the Commission’s assessment of the budget, euro zone states could put pressure within “the political framework” provided by regular monthly meetings of euro zone finance ministers.

He added that respecting rules was even more important now that the European Union was facing a serious threat as “populist and nationalist movements are on the rise.”

“What is a stake now is clearly the future of Europe,” he said, urging euro zone states to respect common rules and to quickly agree on a reform of the euro zone, because the bloc was not fit to face a new major financial crisis, he said.

Reporting by Francesco Guarascio; editing by Philip Blenkinsop

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