December 3, 2018 / 12:22 PM / 9 days ago

EU calls for concrete, substantial changes to Italy budget

European Commission Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis arrives to a Euro zone finance ministers meeting to discuss reforms of the monetary union in Brussels, Belgium November 19, 2018. REUTERS/Eric Vidal

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union executive welcomed on Monday a change of tone from Italy in its dispute with the bloc over its excessively expansionary 2019 budget, but called for concrete, substantial changes before halting disciplinary action.

“We are currently in intensive discussions with Italian authorities ... so now I would say the ball is on Italy’s side whether Italy comes with substantial adjustments to the 2019 plan,” European Commission Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis said.

“It is positive that the tone of discussion has changed but it is also necessary that there is a substantial adjustment to the 2019 budget,” he said on entering a meeting of euro zone finance ministers where Italy’s budget will be one of those discussed.

Reporting By Jan Strupczewski and Alissa de Carbonnel

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