January 31, 2019 / 11:37 AM / 7 months ago

Di Maio says Italy needs more budget flexibility after GDP contracts

ROME (Reuters) - Italy’s Deputy Prime Minister Luigi Di Maio said on Thursday the government wanted more flexibility in EU budget rules after data showed the Italian economy fell into recession at the end of 2018.

Di Maio blamed the contraction in the third and fourth quarters of last year on the previous centre-left government, which left office last May, saying the current administration would answer for results in 2019.

He added that the forthcoming European Union parliamentary election in May would be a de-facto referendum on budget austerity. “I believe this referendum will have a positive outcome for those who are against austerity.”

Reporting by Giuseppe Fonte; Editing by Crispian Balmer

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