March 9, 2016 / 3:35 PM / a year ago

EU Commission warns Italy over its budget, urges measures

European Commission Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis addresses the European Parliament during a debate on the outcome of last EU-Turkey summit at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, March 9, 2016.Vincent Kessler

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Commission warned Italy on Wednesday that its 2016 budget may break EU fiscal rules and urged Rome to take measures to redress the situation.

The warning came in a letter sent to the Italian authorities. Similar letters were sent to Belgium, Croatia, Finland and Romania. Spain received a more formal warning.

"We have identified six countries whose budgetary strategies may entail risks to respecting their commitments under the Stability and Growth Pact. There is still time to take necessary measures and this is why we are sending an early warning signal today," the Commission Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis said in a statement.

The warnings come a month before an April 15 deadline for European Union members to submit their long-term budgetary plans to Brussels.

The Commission will decide in May whether Italy and the other countries warned have taken sufficient measures to correct their imbalances.

Reporting by Francesco Guarascio; editing by Philip Blenkinsop

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