20:46 GMT +314 December 2018
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    Prime Minister of Italy Giuseppe Conte at the NATO summit of heads of state and government, Brussels

    Italy’s Prime Minister Declines Changing 2019 Budget Plan

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    ROME (Sputnik) - Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said Thursday his government would not change the 2019 budget plan despite mounting EU pressure over increased spending.

    "When it comes to the Italians, we are not ready to refuse them anything," Conte told reporters at a forum in Rome.

    READ MORE: EU Rejects Italy Budget Plan, Prepares for Sanctions

    He denied leading a rebellion against EU auditors who gave Italy three weeks in October to amend its budget proposal. The draft was rejected against this Wednesday.

    "We have a common goal with Europe. We are working to reduce the debt," the defiant prime minister said, adding "the rebellion against the EU is a figment of the imagination."

    The comment followed Wednesday's report by the European Commission announced that it rejected the Italian budget plan for 2019. Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini confirmed that the government would not negotiate over its fiscal targets. Salvini added that any EU sanctions against Rome would be "disrespectful" towards the Italian people.

    On the same day, EU Economic and Financial Commissioner Pierre Moscovici warned Italy that its behaviour warranted a debt-based excessive debt procedure, which could lead to fines.

    Italy’s debt load has reached 131 percent of its domestic output. The European Commission told Rome to cut the deficit by 0.6 percent in 2019. Instead, it is set to grow by around 1 percent.

    Related:

    Conflict Over Italy's Budget is More Political Than Economic - EU Commissioner
    EU May Sanction Italy Over Budget if Deal Not Reached - EU Commissioner
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