August 20, 2018 / 1:44 PM / a year ago

Italy govt official says can't rule out 2019 deficit above 3 pct of GDP

ROME, Aug 20 (Reuters) - A top Italian government official on Monday declined to rule out that next year’s budget deficit could be above the European Union’s ceiling of 3 percent of gross domestic product, linking the matter to last week’s collapse of a motorway bridge.

Asked in a television interview if he could exclude that the deficit would breach the 3 percent limit, cabinet undersecretary Giancarlo Giorgetti, of the right-wing League party, replied: “I’m not ruling out anything.”

He told SkyTG24 that the collapse of the bridge in Genoa on Tuesday that killed 43 people had confirmed that Italy’s infrastructures, from school buildings to aqueducts and unsafe river banks, needed urgent renewal.

“We need a major plan of investments in public works,” Giorgetti said, adding that the government would launch a “difficult negotiation” with the EU to have these investments excluded from budget deficit calculations.

Reporting By Gavin Jones

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