Tensions in the Italian government over budget deficit decision


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Accra, Sept. 27, (DPA/GNA)
– A last-minute fight has broken out within the Italian government on budget
plans for next year, as ruling populist party leaders were clamouring Thursday
for more deficit spending to fund tax and welfare programmes.

Economy Minister
Giovanni Tria wanted to set Italy’s deficit for 2019 to 1.6 per cent of GDP,
but over the last 24 hours, the anti-establishment Five Star

Accra, Sept. 27, (DPA/GNA)
– A last-minute fight has broken out within the Italian government on budget
plans for next year, as ruling populist party leaders were clamouring Thursday
for more deficit spending to fund tax and welfare programmes.

Economy Minister
Giovanni Tria wanted to set Italy’s deficit for 2019 to 1.6 per cent of GDP,
but over the last 24 hours, the anti-establishment Five Star Movement (M5S) and
far-right League have called for a looser target.

League leader Matteo
Salvini, who is also Interior Minister and Deputy Premier, was asked if it was
a good idea to raise the deficit above 2 per cent of GDP, defying EU budget
discipline rules, in order to deliver on election campaign promises.

“Absolutely
yes,” he said during a one-day trip to Tunisia.

M5S leader Luigi Di
Maio, who is Industry Minister and Deputy Premier, said he, Salvini, Prime
Minister Giuseppe Conte and Tria would meet later Thursday in Rome to work out
their differences. He dismissed talk of Tria’s possible resignation.

A cabinet meeting was
scheduled at 8 pm (1800 GMT) on the debt and deficit targets, amid press
reports that a decision might in the end be postponed.

The League and the M5S
want to scrap a planned hike in VAT rates and take steps towards delivering on
lower tax, higher pensions and basic income promises. But Italy has high public
debt, and is under pressure from the EU to reduce it.

GNA


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