October 1, 2018 / 1:08 PM / 23 days ago

Italy finance minister tells Eurogroup budget details under discussion: source

LUXEMBOURG (Reuters) - Italy’s finance minister told his euro zone peers during a closed-door meeting in Luxembourg on Monday that details of Italy’s budgetary plans for 2019 were still under discussion within the government, a European Union source told Reuters.

FILE PHOTO: Italian Economy Minister Giovanni Tria attends as Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte (unseen) speaks during his first session at the Lower House of the Parliament in Rome, Italy, June 6, 2018. REUTERS/Tony Gentile/File Photo

Giovanni Tria was asked to explain Rome’s plans for a large deficit in the next three years by the French and Dutch finance ministers, the source said, although the topic was not on the agenda of the monthly Eurogroup meeting of euro zone finance ministers.

He explained the government plans but stressed that they were not final yet and details were still under discussion, the source said.

A second source confirmed French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire had asked Tria details of the budgetary plans during the meeting.

Tria stressed that the draft budget was still under discussion and the government’s priorities were investment and growth.

Last week, the government agreed its budgetary plans for the next three years, which will be the basis for the 2019 draft budget that will have to be submitted to the EU Commission by mid-October.

The first EU source said that at Monday’s meeting, EU commissioners said they were concerned by Italy’s plans for a deficit of 2.4 percent of Gross Domestic Product in 2019, three times higher than Italy’s earlier commitments.

But commissioners added it was too early to formulate their position on the budget, as it had not been submitted yet.

Reporting by Francesco Guarascio; editing by Andrew Roche

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