It’s official. The European Commission has rejected Italy’s proposed 2019 budget. Rome now has three weeks to draw up a new one.

For the first time ever, Brussels could launch an “excessive deficit procedure” that could result in fines for Italy.

As reported by FRANCE 24 online, Italy’s populist government has vowed to resist any pressure from Brussels and continue with its spending plans.

Launching an excessive deficit procedure could result in fines against Italy, though these have so far never been levied against any eurozone country.

In Rome, Italian Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini indicated he would not back down on plans to roll-back the unpopular pension reform, which would allow thousands to retire in the coming months.

“A letter arrived from Brussels? I was expecting one from Santa Claus,” said Salvini, who leads one of the two ruling parties, the far-right League. “We will discuss it politely as we always have. We will exchange opinions. I will continue. If someone wants to persuade me that the pension reform was right, I will not be persuaded.”

Launching an excessive deficit procedure could result in fines against Italy, though these have so far never been levied against any eurozone country.

“It is with regret that today we confirm our assessment that Italy’s draft budget plan is in particularly serious non-compliance,” EU Commission Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis told reporters.

“The situation in Italy is of common concern. Euro area countries are in the same team and should be playing by the same rules. These rules are here to protect us, to provide certainty, stability and mutual trust.”

Launching an excessive deficit procedure could result in fines against Italy, though these have so far never been levied against any eurozone country.

In related news, the Guardian reported that Italy’s government of the far-right League and anti-establishment Five Star Movement has been criticised for seriously violating fiscal rules.