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Matteo Salvini ready to ‘confront EU’ after Italy’s budget rejected again

Matteo Salvini ready to ‘confront EU’ after Italy’s budget rejected again

Italy’s deputy prime minister Matteo Salvini defends the most human budget in the country’s history. Salvini is prepared to confront EU leaders after the European Commission rejected draft 2019 budget for a second time while calling on them to “respect the Italian people”.

As of November, 22, Italy has about €2.3tn of public debt and the Bank of Italy warned this month that the cost of servicing the debt could rise to €5bn in 2019 and €9bn in 2020.

Italy is facing sanctions after the commission said in a report that the government of the far-right League and anti-establishment 5-Star Movement had seriously violated fiscal rules. Unless a compromise is reached, Italy could face an initial fine of 0.2% of GDP, which would add a further €8bn to its financial woes. The penalty could rise to 0.7% if it still refuses to comply.

Italy’s deputy prime minister, Matteo Salvini, told reporters he remained convinced about his government’s budget plans. Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said he would meet Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker on Saturday to highlight the budget’s “solidity and effectiveness”.

Italy’s government predicts the economy frow in 2019

Giuseppe Conte’s government is convinced that the budget would help the Italian economy grow by 1.5% over the next year. However, the economy stagnated in the third quarter. This week, Italy’s national statistics agency, Istat, revised down its growth forecast for the year to 1.1%; in May it predicted 1.4% for 2018.

Meanwhile, Matteo Salvini responded sarcastically to news of the commission’s report. “A letter from the EU? I’m also waiting for one from Father Christmas,” he told reporters.

Referring to the commission president and economics commissioner, Salvini said he was ready to confront Juncker, Moscovici or whoever over a budget he said responded to the needs of Italians. ‘The most human budget’ in Italy’s history is, definitely, important for League, that’s why it is widely suspected that Salvini is exploiting the standoff to whip up anti-EU anger before May’s European parliamentary elections.