Eurogroup To Meet In December To Discuss Italy's Draft Budget - President

BRUSSELS (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 21st November, 2018) The finance ministers of the eurozone countries, informally known as the Eurogroup, will meet in December to discuss the situation with the Italian draft budget plan (DBP), Eurogroup President Mario Centeno said on Wednesday.

"On Italy: We will discuss this in the #Eurogroup in December. I cannot and will not pre-empt that discussion now. In general, the @EU_Commission has been balanced in the implementation of our common fiscal rules," Centeno wrote on his Twitter blog.

He added that the Eurogroup would discuss the European Commission's opinion on Italy's DBP along with all other DBPs.

Earlier on Wednesday, EU Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs Commissioner Pierre Moscovici said that Italy did not comply with the EU fiscal rules and, therefore, the European Commission deemed it appropriate to launch a debt-based excessive deficit procedure (EDP) with respect to Rome. Moscovici, however, stressed that his intervention did not mean the official launch of the disciplinary measure.

Now the EU countries are set to present their views on the issue to the European Commission. If the states agree with the European Commission's proposal to launch the EDP, the commission will then have to prepare the concrete steps and develop new recommendations for Italy to correct its budget.

The budgetary plan submitted by Italy to the European Commission was drafted with a deficit of 2.4 percent of the national GDP, which is below the EU-mandated 3 percent threshold. Another criterion stipulates that EU members should keep its debt-to-GDP level below 60 percent and make efforts to cut debt, if it is above the limit. Italy's debt-to-GDP ratio has stagnated around 132 percent over the past four years, the second highest rate in Europe after Greece. By June, the country's debt grew to an all-time high over 2.3 trillion Euros ($2.64 trillion).