July 5, 2018 / 6:13 AM / 4 months ago

Italy to ask Europe for more scope for public investments, reforms: paper

FILE PHOTO: 5-Star Movement leader Luigi Di Maio speaks the day after Italy's parliamentary election, in Rome, Italy March 5, 2018. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi/File Photo

MILAN (Reuters) - Italy will ask the European Union for greater leeway on public investments and reforms, its deputy prime minister, Luigi Di Maio, told a newspaper on Thursday, adding that all member states should have the same fiscal and welfare systems.

Italy is the euro zone’s third largest economy, with its debt burden amounting to about 130 percent of economic output, the biggest among major euro zone nations.

Economists estimate its coalition government’s plans could add tens of billions of euros to annual spending.

“In the next months (the government’s) attitude will be different from the past,” Di Maio, who is also labor minister, said in an interview with La Stampa.

“We will move to obtain greater investments and the possibility of making structural reforms in the fiscal and welfare sectors.”

Di Maio added that he believed in Europe but the government would work toward a model in which the fiscal and welfare systems of all member states would be the same.

Just days ago, the economy minister said Italy would not adopt measures to narrow its budget deficit this year.

Reporting by Giulia Segreti; Editing by Clarence Fernandez

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