October 18, 2018 / 5:22 PM / a year ago

EU's Moscovici plays down budget clash with Italy, says no decisions taken

Italy's Economy Minister Giovanni Tria holds a joint news conference with European Economic Commissioner Pierre Moscovici at the Treasury ministry in Rome, Italy October 18, 2018. REUTERS/Max Rossi

ROME (Reuters) - European Economic Affairs Commissioner Pierre Moscovici said on Thursday that the dispute over Italy’s deficit-hiking budget will take time to pan out and said Brussels wanted a calm and constructive dialogue.

Speaking at a news conference in Rome alongside Italian Economy Minister Giovanni Tria, Moscovici said a letter sent by the Commission querying the 2019 budget was only the start of what could be a long process.

“We have simply sent a letter,” Moscovici said, adding that a final decision on Italy’s budget would rest with EU political leaders. “We have time,” he said.

He added that Italy and the Commission must handle their disagreement with “intelligence and a cool head”.

Reporting by Giuseppe Fonte; Writing by Gavin Jones; Editing by Crispian Balmer

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