16:35 GMT27 July 2021
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Italy will not change "even a comma" in its draft budget for next year that was rejected by the European Commission earlier this week, Italian Interior Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini said on Thursday.

    "As we are polite, we open the little letters from Brussels, we read them, we respond to them. They write back and we respond, but we are not changing a comma of the budget that will lead Italy to growth," Salvini said, as quoted by the ANSA news agency.

    He also accused the EU leadership of attempts to hinder Italy's economic growth.

    READ MORE: Italy's Budget: No Side Interested in Not Finding Deal Before Deadline — Scholar

    "If Brussels or some big professors want Italy at zero growth, they have run into the wrong government and the wrong minister," he said.

    On Tuesday, the European Commission rejected Italy's draft budget for 2019 and gave Rome three weeks to revise it. The same day, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said it would be difficult for Rome to change the draft budget substantially, adding that there was "no Plan B." The country's foreign minister, Enzo Moavero Milanesi, also said the government would not revise its budget plan for 2019.

    The budgetary plan submitted by Italy to the European Commission was drafted with a deficit of 2.4 percent of GDP. It is below 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 stalled around 132 percent over the past four years, the second 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).


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    debt, budget, GDP, draft, Enzo Moavero Milanesi, Giuseppe Conte, Matteo Salvini, European Union, Italy
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