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EU member states approve steps against Rome for budget breach

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The move, which is likely to revive tensions with Rome’s populist, eurosceptic government, paves the way for launching an excessive deficit procedure (EDP) against Italy for its failure to reduce debt in 2018.

Italy’s public debt topped 132 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2018.

The commission said recently Rome has not done enough to cut it down to 60 per cent, as eurozone rules call for, and charged that some Italian government policies were part of the problem.

The next step now is for the commission to formally propose the launch of an EDP, along with recommendations for Rome to correct its budgetary path.

EU finance ministers must agree to those measures.

Under the EDP, Italy could ultimately be fined up to 3.5 billion Euros.

However, such penalties are a distant prospect, as they would occur only after repeated non-compliance.

The EU’s motion of censure hits the Italian government as it veers close to collapse due to squabbling between the League and the Five Star Movement.

Their differences include whether to choose confrontation or compromise with Brussels.

Earlier in the day, Italian Finance Minister Giovanni Tria told lawmakers that “it is in our interest to reach a compromise and to definitively normalise the conditions of our government bond market.

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