August 31, 2018 / 6:25 AM / 3 months ago

EU's Oettinger chides Italy on high debt level, warns on payments

European Union Budget Commissioner Guenther Oettinger holds a news conference to present the EU executive's final proposal for the bloc's next long-term budget, in Brussels, Belgium, May 2, 2018. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir

BERLIN (Reuters) - European Union Commissioner Guenther Oettinger chided Italy on Friday about its high debt levels - the second in Europe behind Greece - and warned that market confidence could be eroded if Europe raised its overall debt.

“We have to be careful that Europe’s debt levels do not right too far,” Oettinger, the bloc’s budget commissioner, told German broadcaster ZDF. “We cannot incur unreasonable new debts.”

Oettinger said he took seriously Italy’s threat to veto the EU’s seven-year budget plan if the bloc does not share the burden of migrant arrivals. However, he said Italy had obligated itself as a member of the EU to make its budget payments and also benefited from the bloc’s outlays.

Reporting by Gernot Heller; Writing by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Paul Tait

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