Thursday, 13 December, 2018

The budget of Italy is unsettling the Eurozone

REUTERS  Johannes P. Christo IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde at the World Bank Annual MeetingREUTERS Johannes P. Christo
Kenny Thornton | 19 October, 2018, 19:52

That is comfortably below the EU's 3 percent ceiling, but up sharply from a targeted 1.8 percent this year, unnerving financial markets and contravening European Union regulations that call on Italy and similarly highly indebted countries to narrow the deficit steadily toward zero. In an interview with Italian journalists by the head of the European Commission added that if Italy does not comply, it may cause a violent reaction of its European partners.

After weeks of conflicting messages from Rome, market turmoil, and an early warning that the spending plans would breach EU rules, the European Commission will start reviewing Italy's plan to start delivering on costly election promises.

"If we were to accept everything that the Italian government offers us, we would have counter-political backlash in other countries of the euro area", has already warned Mr Juncker, pointing out the" gap between what was promised and what is presented today".

"This is the outcome of a lot of work and a lot of meetings that we have transparently made public". However, other European Union countries have raised concerns that the increase in Italy's budget deficit to 2.4 percent of the country's annual GDP will increase debts.

The spending boost is essentially due to what the government calls its "people's budget", a series of pension and tax changes that will cost 37 billion euros ($43 billion), of which 22 billion will be paid for by expanding the deficit.

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Asked if he heard or asked to hear audio of Khashoggi's alleged slaying, he said: "I don't have anything to say about that". Khashoggi, and that they will do so in a timely fashion", he told reporters .

To help fund spending measures, the budget makes life harder for Italy's struggling banks, reducing the proportion of interest payments they can deduct from their taxable income. The problem for Italy, however, is that Brussels has the power to send back the budget if it does not believe Italy is fulfilling its obligations.

He said he was "proud" of his budget and pointed out that Rome would engage in a dialogue "without prejudice" with the EU.

"It is my personal opinion that based on the figures it is v (very) likely that we have to ask Italy to correct the draft budget", Oettinger said on Wednesday as he refuted the report.

At the summit, Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said fiscal rules should be respected by all, adding: "Too much debt is risky".

Alessandro Tentori, chief investment officer for Italy at Axa Investment Managers, told CNBC Tuesday that there was so far little detail in the budget about growth and investment projects.

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