EU's Moscovici says sanctions possible if no deal with Italy on budget

EU's Moscovici says sanctions possible if no deal with Italy on budget
FILE PHOTO: European Economic Commissioner Pierre Moscovici talks to journalists during a press biefing after a weekly college meeting of the European Commission in Strasbourg, France, October 23, 2018. REUTERS/Vincent Kessler -
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BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union could impose sanctions on Italy if no deal is reached on the country's budget for next year, the bloc's commissioner for economic affairs said on Tuesday.

"I want a dialogue, but sanctions can be finally applied if we do not reach an agreement," Pierre Moscovici told reporters on Tuesday on the sidelines of a meeting of EU finance ministers.

Rome's budget draft is considered by Brussels to be in breach of EU fiscal rules and needs to be revised by Nov. 13.

"On the 13th of November we expect a strong, precise answer from the Italian government," Moscovici said.

"I favour a policy that is growth-friendly in Italy. A policy with a higher public debt is not growth-friendly," Moscovici added.

Italy's Finance Minister Giovanni Tria reiterated on Monday that the country's budget will not change and insisted a planned larger deficit for next year would not boost the country's huge public debt which tops 130 percent of gross domestic product.

(Reporting by Francesco Guarascio; editing by John Stonestreet and Andrew Heavens)

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