ROME (Reuters) - Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini said on Monday the European Union should show respect towards Italy and applying sanctions against it over its contested 2019 budget would be "ungenerous."
Italy is at loggerheads with the European Commission and many euro zone governments over the expansionary budget which the Commission has rejected, saying it fails to bring down the deficit as required by EU rules.
Speaking to reporters in Milan, Salvini said Italy pays more into the EU budget than it gets back and "seeing as we pay for our membership of this club we want this club to treat us with respect."
Salvini, the head of the right-wing League party, said Italy did not want to "unhinge" the EU, but to "change some rules that damage Italian and European citizens."
(Reporting by Sara Rossi, writing by Gavin Jones)