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EU prepares the ground for disciplinary procedure over Italy debt

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EU prepares the ground for disciplinary procedure over Italy debt

EU prepares the ground for disciplinary procedure over Italy debt

The European Commission concluded on Wednesday that Italy is in breach of EU fiscal rules because of its growing debt, a situation that justifies the launch of a disciplinary procedure.

Pascale Davies reports.

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EU prepares the ground for disciplinary procedure over Italy debt

The battle between the Brussels and Rome ramped up a notch on Wednesday after the European Commission concluded that Italy is in breach of budget rules.

It now means the Commission could open a disciplinary procedure against Rome next month.

Adding to concerns many Italians already have over their economy.

(SOUNDBITE) (Italian) CARPENTER STEFANO ROSSI SAYING: ''I have to worry, I don't even have a job.

The politicians before were foxes, these ones that are here now will do nothing as well.

It's getting worse and worse.'' It's a dispute that has wreaked political havoc and has seen Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte threaten to resign, unless the two ruling populist parties work together to resolve this and other issues.

But Italy could avoid repercussions, if as Brussels stressed, it makes new fiscal commitments.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) EUROPEAN COMMISSION VICE PRESIDENT, VALDIS DOMBROVSKIS, SAYING: "We know that there is a path for recovery.

This path follows a renewed reform effort and not spending more when there is no fiscal space to do so." If Rome doesn't comply, it could be slapped with financial sanctions.

Data released in April showed debt grew to 132.2% of GDP in 2018- the largest ratio in the EU after bailed-out Greece.

The Commission forecasts it could snowball further and break EU fiscal rules.

Italy's anti-austerity government averted sanctions in December when it agreed at the last minute to lower its deficit this year.

But the political climate has since changed The co-ruling far-right League achieved a resounding win in EU parliamentary elections last month.

Its economics chief says it will "stop at nothing" to prevent new belt-tightening measures.




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