October 16, 2018 / 8:18 AM / 10 months ago

Italy PM says proud of budget, seeks EU dialogue 'without prejudice'

FILE PHOTO: Italy's Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte gestures during a news conference with Interior Minister Matteo Salvini after to approve a new decree of the measures on immigration and security at Chigi Palace in Rome, Italy, September 24, 2018. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi/File Photo

ROME (Reuters) - Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said on Tuesday the government was proud of its expansionary 2019 budget and would seek to explain its strategy to the European Commission in a dialogue “without prejudice.”

“We are convinced that austerity is a path that can no longer be followed,” Conte told parliament ahead of an EU summit where his peers are expected to ask him about the budget.

Conte said the budget was founded on the need to boost investments, which had been lacking in Italy in recent years, and added that Italy’s membership of the EU was “unrenounceable.”

Reporting by Angelo Amante, writing by Gavin Jones

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