The European Commission has confirmed that “good progress” has been made in talks with Italy over the country’s 2019 budget.
“President [Jean-Claude Juncker] listened attentively to Prime Minister [Giuseppe] Conte and the arguments he presented. Good progress has been made. The European Commission will now assess the proposals received this afternoon,” said a spokeswoman for the European Commission on December 12.
As reported by Bloomberg, this is a sign that weeks of clashes between Rome and Brussels over the country’s spending plans could be winding down.
Italy’s populist government proposed to cut the deficit target to 2.04% of output next year. This is much lower than an initial 2.4%.
“We are not betraying the trust of Italians and we respect the commitments made with the measures which have the most impact,” such as a lower retirement age and a citizen’s income for the poor, Conte said.
According to Bloomberg, the ball is now in the Commission’s court whether to end the budget tug-of-war.
As for Conte, he stressed that he is working to avert an infringement procedure that could lead to fines and called the negotiations “very fruitful”.