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Italy cuts deficit goal, says expects positive response: PM

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte poses with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker ahead of a meeting at the EU Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium December 12, 2018. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Italy has lowered its deficit target for next year to 2.04 percent of output and expects the European Commission to accept its new 2019 budget proposal, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said on Wednesday.

“We were able to come down to 2.04 percent (of GDP),” Conte told reporters after meeting with commission President Jean-Claude Juncker. “In its first evaluation, the commission judged (the proposal) as significant,” he added, saying he expected a “positive” response.

Conte flew to Brussels to try to head off disciplinary measures for Italy’s expansionary draft budget, which originally proposed a deficit of 2.4 percent of gross domestic product, and which the commission rejected as too high.

Reporting by Francesco Guarascio, writing by Steve Scherer