On Monday, Italy submitted its draft budget to the European Union. The proposed budget deficit of 2.4 percent of GDP is underneath the EU-mandated 3-percent threshold, but another criterion stipulates that EU members should keep its debt-to-GDP level below 60 percent and make efforts to cut debt, if it is above the limit. Italy's debt-to-GDP ratio has been around 132 percent over the past four years, the highest in Europe after Greece. By June, the country's debt grew to an all-time high above 2.3 trillion euros ($2.64 trillion).
"We expect the Italian government to respect the rules. The Maastricht criteria are binding on all, including Italy. That is why we can hardly understand the draft budget that Italy submitted to the European Union. We, in Austria, definitely will not pay someone else's debts," Kurz stressed following the EU summit in Brussels.
He added that not only Austria expected Italy to comply with the Maastricht criteria, adding that "many other EU countries see it that way."
Kurz also revealed his plans to discuss the issue with Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte.