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EU finance official says new Italian budget insufficient

December 13, 2018
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, right, greets Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte prior to a meeting at EU headquarters in Brussels, Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2018. (Francisco Seco)
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, right, greets Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte prior to a meeting at EU headquarters in Brussels, Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2018. (Francisco Seco)

MILAN (AP) — Italy’s populist leaders say they back a revised budget submitted by Premier Giuseppe Conte to the EU Commission, following comments by the EU’s top finance official that the changes are “insufficient.”

Matteo Salvini of the League and Luigi Di Maio of the 5-Star Movement said Thursday: “We continue to support our proposal with conviction. We are people of good sense, but above all we remain faithful to what we promised citizens.”

EU Economy Commissioner Pierre Moscovici said the reduction in the deficit target for next year — to 2 percent of GDP from 2.4 percent — is “a step in the right direction,” but work is needed “maybe on both sides.”

The new budget maintains two expensive social programs, while seeking to raise money through real estate sales and lower state spending.

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