Budget talks with EU not an 'exchange of concessions', Italy PM tells paper

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte speaks during a news conference in Moscow, Russia October 24, 2018. Sergei Chirikov/Pool via REUTERS

MILAN (Reuters) - Dialogue between Italy and the European Commission over the country’s budget plans will not be an “exchange of concessions”, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte told Corriere della Sera in an interview published on Thursday.

Conte defended the government’s 2019 deficit target of 2.4 percent of GDP, despite a rejection by the European Commission, which says the deficit is too high and has called on Rome to re-write its fiscal plans.

He also said it was “unreasonable and profoundly unfair” to blame the current government for weak Italian economic data published this week, adding that the impact of the new government’s reforms would only be visible from 2019.

Reporting by Agnieszka Flak; Editing by Clarence Fernandez