- Italy Says No ‘Plan B’ as EU Demands Unprecedented Budget Revision
by John Follain, Alessandra Migliaccio, and Jonathan Stearns, https://www.bloomberg.com/
* Conte says Italy won’t accept substantial changes to budget
* EU rejects budget of member state for first time ever
Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte insisted his government has no “Plan B” for its budget as the European Union demanded unprecedented changes to bring the country into line with spending rules.
While EU commissioners were discussing Italy’s violations at a meeting in Strasbourg Tuesday, Conte said in a Bloomberg News interview that he was looking forward to explaining the 2019 budget to them. He suggested that Italy has some leeway to tweak aspects of the plan, but not actual spending. If he is asked to change the substance, “it will be difficult for me because I cannot accept that.”
Hours later the European Commission, the bloc’s executive arm, officially rejected the budget and asked Italy to take back, revise and resubmit its plans — the first time such demands have been made of a member state.
“There isn’t any B plan,” Conte said in the interview in English at his Rome office. “I said that the deficit at 2.4 percent of GDP is the cap. I can say this will be our cap,” he said.