Renzi says Italy trying to reopen debate on EU "fiscal compact" budget rules

ROME, Oct 28 (Reuters) - Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi said on Friday that he was trying to reopen discussions over the European Union’s “fiscal compact” budget rules, adding that 2017 would be a crucial year for negotiations.

The rules were drafted in response to Europe’s debt crisis in 2011 and 2012 and are designed to force high-debt countries to aggressively reduce their shortfalls.

“There have been general strikes for all kinds of reasons, but not for the fiscal compact, which was approved largely without a political debate. It was thought to be the only solution,” Renzi said during a speech in Padua, Italy, broadcast on TV.

“We are trying to reopen the discussion, and 2017 will be a key year,” he added.

Renzi has said austerity must be abandoned in order to revive Italy’s economy, which is chronically sluggish and stalled in the second quarter. (Reporting by Steve Scherer)