Italy seeks delay to EU budget decision, awaiting tax data

EU Commission calls for ‘credible path’ for country’s finances

Italy aims to convince the EU to delay until the autumn a decision on whether to open a disciplinary procedure over its finances, which is expected to look healthier after tax revenue data in July, four coalition sources said.

The European Commission, whose term ends on October 31st, will also look more like a lame duck after the summer and Rome will have more time to argue its case for a reform of EU fiscal rules, two of the sources said.

Italy and the European Commission have been at loggerheads on fiscal policy since an anti-austerity government of the right-wing League and the anti-establishment Five-Star Movement took office a year ago armed with ambitious spending plans.

The executive commission said last week that action against Rome was warranted because its debt had risen in 2018 instead of falling as promised, and would continue to do so this year and next.


Economics Commissioner Pierre Moscovici said on Wednesday that Brussels wanted Italy to present "a credible path" for its finances this year and next, and called for quick decisions.

“We stand ready to take into account any new elements that Italy may put forward, but let’s not waste time,” he said in Brussels.

Under EU rules, euro-zone finance ministers are normally supposed to decide on disciplinary procedures within four months of Eurostat’s publication of the previous year’s public finance data, which in this case was on April 23rd.

All EU institutions are closed in August, so the decision should therefore be taken by the end of July. – Reuters