October 17, 2018 / 2:02 PM / a month ago

EU's Oettinger says Italy's draft budget does not meet EU guidelines - Spiegel

European Union Budget Commissioner Guenther Oettinger holds a news conference in Brussels, Belgium, May 2, 2018. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir/File Photo

BERLIN (Reuters) - European Commissioner Guenther Oettinger said Italy’s draft budget for 2019 was not in line with European Union guidelines, according to German magazine Der Spiegel.

“It confirmed the suspicion that the Italian budget draft for 2019 is not in line with the obligations that exist in the EU,” Spiegel quoted Oettinger as saying.

A letter from the European Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, Pierre Moscovici, to Italy on the matter should arrive in Rome on Thursday or Friday, Spiegel reported on Wednesday.

The EU Commission is yet to review the budget according to its own rules and is obliged by law to consult with the Italian government first, which is due to happen during Moscovici’s visit to Rome on Thursday and Friday.

The Commission can officially declare the Italian budget to be in significant deviation from the rules only after the consultation and then ask for it to be revised.

On Monday night, the coalition approved the 2019 budget bill that boosts welfare spending, cuts the retirement age and hikes deficit spending.

Reporting by Riham Alkousaa; Editing by Maria Sheahan

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