November 21, 2018 / 11:58 AM / 20 days ago

Italy's Salvini sticks by budget despite EU Commission rejection

FILE PHOTO: Italy's Minister of Labor and Industry Luigi Di Maio, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte and Interior Minister Matteo Salvini attend a news conference after a cabinet meeting at Chigi Palace in Rome, Italy, October 20 2018. REUTERS/Remo Casilli

ROME (Reuters) - Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini, speaking after Brussels rejected Italy’s 2019 budget, said on Wednesday the government’s fiscal targets were valid and indicated he would not negotiate over them.

“We are convinced about the numbers in our budget. We will talk about it in a year’s time,” he told reporters.

The EU executive on Wednesday took the first step towards disciplining Italy over the budget, backed by euro zone governments worried that Rome’s borrow-and-spend plans could trigger another debt crisis that would hurt them all.

Salvini said any EU sanctions against Rome would be “disrespectful” towards Italians.

Reporting by Giuseppe Fonte, writing by Davide Barbuscia; Editing by Crispian Balmer

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