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Italy Strikes Informal Budget Deal With EU, Official Says

Italy and the European Union are said to be one step closer to a final deal over the country’s 2019 budget.

Rome and Brussels have reached an informal accord on the budget, according to a Treasury official who asked not to be named. The deal will be officially announced Wednesday, the official added.

Italy’s populist government has been locked in a tussle with Brussels to avoid sanctions over its contentious 2019 budget.

The coalition in Rome led by Premier Giuseppe Conte is trying to convince the EU’s budget inspectors that its 2019 spending plan will really deliver a deficit of around 2 percent of GDP as it has forecast. Analysis by the European Commission last month suggested that the deficit would actually be close to 3 percent.

In a bid to persuade the European Union that its spending plans are credible, the coalition made up of the rightist League and anti-establishment Five Star Movement have offered the EU a cut in their growth forecast for next year, according to a Treasury official.

Once a deal is formally announced, the government will face a year-end deadline to get the bill through parliamentary approval.

The Prime Minister’s office did not respond to a request for comment late Tuesday.


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