Eurogroup seeks reassurance that Italy will meet fiscal targets

June 13, 2019

LUXEMBOURG (Reuters) – Euro zone finance ministers will discuss Italy’s debt problems during their meeting in Luxembourg on Thursday, their chairman Mario Centeno said.

“(It is) important to clarify all political decisions that are needed to bring Italy to comply” with EU fiscal rules, Centeno told journalists on arriving at the meeting. “It is important to keep up with the commitments.”

Centeno said the ministers would have a first discussion about the EU executive Commission’s critical assessment of Italy’s slipping compliance with the bloc’s fiscal rules.

“I won’t mention precisely risks of instability” from rising Italian debt, Centeno said. “But we need to reassure everyone that the commitment is there.”

He said what he expected to hear from Italy on Thursday was “clarity, that the targets that were committed by the Italian government at the end of last year are achieved”.

Italy and the European Commission have been at loggerheads on fiscal policy since an anti-austerity government comprising the right-wing League and the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement took office a year ago promising to boost welfare and cut taxes.

The EU on Tuesday moved closer to taking disciplinary action over Italy’s growing debt, as authorities in Rome made tentative steps to avert a procedure that could saddle Italy with large fines and alienate investors.

(Reporting by Francesco Guarascio, Writing by Gabriela Baczynska, Editing by Gareth Jones)

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