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EU's Moscovici prefers dialogue to sanctions against Italy: cabinet member

FILE PHOTO: European Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs Pierre Moscovici presents the EU executive's economic forecasts during a news conference at the EU Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, May 7, 2019. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - European Economic Commissioner Pierre Moscovici is not in favor of using financial sanctions against Italy as a tool to enforce European Union budget rules, but the option exists if needed, a senior member of Moscovici’s cabinet said on Tuesday.

Italy’s Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini said earlier on Tuesday the European Commission could impose a 3 billion euro fine on Italy for breaking EU rules due to its rising debt and structural deficit levels.

“Commissioner Moscovici has always been as a principle, more in favor of dialogue than sanctions, as he believes that if the process gets to the stage of sanctions it is always a failure,” the cabinet member said.

“We need a dialogue with Italy, and it is under way, but measures will need to be taken and the commissioner has been clear that if EU rules are not respected then sanctions do exist as part of the process,” the official recounted Moscovici’s position.

Reporting By Jan Strupczewski

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