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Italian parliament lowers planned 2019 budget deficit to avoid sanctions

  • The lower house of the Italian parliament approved a revised budget deficit for 2019 in the last minute vote.
  • The revised budget deficit is expected to reach 2.04% of GDP instead of originally planned 2.4% of GDP.

A lower chamber of the Italian parliament approved a revised budget deficit for 2019 in a last-minute vote before the deadline expired on Monday, December 31, avoiding the sanctions from the European Commission in form of the excessive deficit procedure.

Lawmakers in Rome voted 313 in favor and 70 against the revised budget, which had already been approved by the Senate.

The clash between the populist Italian government and the European Commission started in October after the Commission raised concerns about the long-term sustainability of Italian public finances claiming that the planned budget would have a negative impact on Italy's already elevated debt. After the deal was struck with the Commission last week, Italy lowered its planned budget deficit from 2.4% of GDP to 2.04%.

The parliamentary debate was fierce with ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi’s center-right Forza Italia parliament members being escorted from the lower house on Saturday afternoon while wearing a provocating slogan “Enough Taxes”.


 

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