September 27, 2018 / 10:32 AM / 22 days ago

Italy's economic minister threatened to resign, cabinet meeting slips two hours: source

ROME (Reuters) - Italy’s Economy Minister Giovanni Tria threatened to resign while holding firm against pressure to fix a 2019 budget deficit target of above 1.6 percent of output, a government source from the 5-Star Movement said Thursday.

FILE PHOTO: Italian Economy Minister Giovanni Tria attends as Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte (unseen) speaks during his first session at the Lower House of the Parliament in Rome, Italy, June 6, 2018. REUTERS/Tony Gentile/File Photo

“A battle is underway between us and Tria,” the source said. “Tria is holding to the 1.6 pct (of GDP) deficit target (for 2019) and has threatened to resign. We have told him that he can go.”

“The ruling parties are in agreement,” the source added. “It’s not necessary to have 2019 deficit target of 2.4 percent (of GDP), but it must be above 2 percent.”

Another government source said Thursday’s cabinet meeting will slip to about 8 p.m. (1800 GMT), two hours later than had been originally expected.

Reporting by Giuseppe Fonte, writing by Giselda Vagnoni, editing by Steve Scherer

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