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EU Commission Urges Legal Action against Italy over Debt

EU Commission Urges Legal Action against Italy over Debt

Wednesday, 05 June 2019 07:38 AM

BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Commission recommended Wednesday that legal action be launched against Italy because it failed to respect EU debt rules last year and is likely to do so again in 2019 and 2020, setting up a new confrontation with the populist government in Rome.

In coming weeks, EU member states must assess the extent of any action that should be taken Italy. It could face billions of euros (dollars) in fines.

A new commission report showed that Italy's public debt stood at 132.2% of GDP in 2018, far above the EU's 60% limit.

"Moreover, Italy is not projected to comply with the debt reduction benchmark in either 2019 or 2020 based on both the government plans and the commission 2019 spring forecast," the report said.

The action comes at a time of rising tensions between Brussels and the Italian government, in particular Deputy Premier Matteo Salvini, who has been emboldened by his right-wing League party's strong gains in last month's EU elections.

The Italian government only won commission approval for its 2019 budget plan late last year. After some early defiance from Salvini, Rome agreed to reduce the deficit to acceptable levels.

Commission Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis noted on Wednesday that "we are not opening the excessive debt procedure. First, EU member states have to give their views" on the report. He said the EU's economics and finance committee has two weeks to draw its conclusions based on the report.

EU Economy Commissioner Pierre Moscovici extended a hand to Rome, saying: "My door is open. We can always discuss and listen."

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The European Commission recommended Wednesday that legal action be launched against Italy because it failed to respect EU debt rules last year and is likely to do so again in 2019 and 2020, setting up a new confrontation with the populist government in Rome.In coming weeks,...
APFN,EU,Europe,Italy,Debt
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2019-38-05
Wednesday, 05 June 2019 07:38 AM
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