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Italy, EU to work to bring views on 2019 budget closer together - Commission

Italy, EU to work to bring views on 2019 budget closer together - Commission
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BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Italy and the European Commission will work in the coming days to bring closer their positions on Italy’s 2019 draft budget, which the EU executive says breaks EU laws by not reducing the country’s huge public debt.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker met on Saturday evening with Italy’s Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte to discuss the budget on the eve of an EU summit set to approve the terms of Britain’s withdrawal from the bloc.

“The working dinner is part of the permanent ongoing dialogue between the Commission and the Italian government,” a Commission spokeswoman said after the meeting.

“Work will continue in the following days to bring closer the respective points of view and seek a future-oriented solution,” the spokeswoman said.

The European Commission took the first step last Wednesday toward disciplining Italy over its expansionary 2019 budget after Rome refused to change it, raising the stakes in a dispute that has alarmed the whole euro zone and could eventually lead to fines.

(Reporting by Jan Strupczewski; editing by Jason Neely)

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