MILAN — Italy lowered its proposed deficit to just over 2
Premier Giuseppe Conte told reporters in Brussels after meeting with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker the new draft lowers the budget deficit to 2.04
"We hope to bring home a positive solution," Conte said, adding that the climate in the meeting was "fruitful."
Conte said both parties represented in Italy's coalition government back the new proposal, which retains both the basic income for job-seekers promised by the 5-Star Movement and a rollback on an unpopular pension reform pledged by the League.
"We have been correct and honest with the citizens, respecting electoral promises, and at the same time responsible with the EU," Conte said.
The EU commission rejected Italy's previous budget, saying the populist government's spending plans would break promises to lower public debt. The EU is expected to take a few days to evaluate the new proposal before indicating whether it is acceptable, but the Milan Stock Exchange gained nearly 2
While the Italian government has argued that the spending increases were necessary to relaunch growth after years of austerity, the Commission said the measures would not boost growth and would force new budget cuts in the future.
Italy risks sanctions for excessive debt, which has been stuck at 131
Colleen Barry, The Associated Press