November 15, 2018 / 8:23 AM / a year ago

Italy PM Conte looking to work with EU to avert massive fines - reports

FILE PHOTO: Italy's Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte attends a news conference after the second day of the international conference on Libya in Palermo, Italy November 13, 2018. REUTERS/Guglielmo Mangiapane

ROME (Reuters) - Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte is looking to work with the European Union over Italy’s 2019 budget to avert massive fines, Italian newspapers reported on Thursday.

Italian dailies La Stampa and Il Messaggero said that Conte was trying to convince Brussels that any sanctions imposed on Rome would be for breaching EU fiscal rules on excessive deficit rather than debt.

According to Il Messaggero, Italy would have to introduce measures costing 40-60 billion euros ($68.04 billion) per year for infringement of EU debt rules compared to just 9-13 billion euros for deficit infringement.

No one was immediately available at the Prime Minister’s office for comment.

(This story corrects paragraph 3 to show Italy would face introducing new measures worth up to 60 bln euros, not fine)

Reporting by Giselda Vagnoni, editing by Stephen Jewkes

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