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Italy's Ex-Prime Minister Says Confident EU, Rome to Reach Budget Deal, No Event to Worsen Situation

© AP Photo / Michael SohnRomano Prodi
Romano Prodi - Sputnik International
VERONA, (Sputnik) - Former Prime Minister spoke at the 12th annual Eurasian Economic Forum "Business Connecting Eurasia Dialogue - From the Atlantic to the Pacific" that started in Verona on Thursday.

Italy and the European Union are set to reach an agreement on the country's budget despite the recent dispute over the EU fiscal rules, Romano Prodi, the president of the Foundation for Worldwide Cooperation and former Italian prime minister, said on the sidelines of the Eurasian Economic Forum on Thursday.

"The work on the budget is still going on. I am confident that there will be an agreement … I do not see any new event that can worsen the situation," Prodi said.

In 2018, Italy's public debt-to-GDP ratio was 132.2 percent — the second-largest ratio in the European Union and one of the world's largest. According to the European Commission, such a debt makes the country's economy extremely vulnerable. The EU limits stipulate that a member's budget deficit must not exceed 3 percent of the national GDP and that its public debt must be below 60 percent of its GDP. Brussels was pressing Rome to make efforts to curb debt and to avoid bloating the budget deficit. Earlier in October, the Italian government belatedly approved its 2020 draft budget and sent it to the European Commission for scrutiny. The cabinet hopes to keep deficit at 2.2 percent by going after tax evaders, among other measures.

Italy-China Trade Ties

Touching upon trade relations between Beijing and Rome, Romano Prodi said that these ties are not developing positively, remaining at a previously-reached level.

"If you look at statistics, the situation is not so different [from worsening trade between Italy and Eurasia as a whole]. We had an improvement for so many years, but now we are in some sort of frozen position," Prodi said.

The 12th Eurasian Economic Forum is held on 24-25 October 2019 in the Italian city of Verona.

The forum focuses on a large range of topics with a particular emphasis on the partnership between Europe and the Eurasian Economic Union.

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