Italy's Di Maio denies he threatened to oust economy minister

FILE PHOTO: Italian Minister of Labor and Industry Luigi Di Maio speaks at the Italian Business Association Confcommercio meeting in Rome, Italy, June 7, 2018. REUTERS/Tony Gentile/File Photo

ROME (Reuters) - Italian Deputy Prime Minister Luigi Di Maio on Tuesday denied a media report saying that he had called for Economy Minister Giovanni Tria to resign, though he said the minister must find the resources to increase welfare spending next year.

“Nobody asked for minister Tria’s resignation, but I expect the economy minister of a government for change to find the money for Italians who are momentarily in economic difficulty,” Di Maio told the Ansa state news agency.

“Italians in trouble can’t wait any more, the state can’t abandon them and a serious minister has to find the money,” he said in comments confirmed to Reuters by Di Maio’s spokeswoman.

La Stampa daily reported on Tuesday that Di Maio, who leads the 5-Star Movement that governs with the right-wing League, had threatened to oust Tria unless he found the money in the 2019 budget to fund 5-Star’s flagship proposal of a guaranteed income for the poor.

Reporting by Angelo Amante, writing by Gavin Jones, editing by Steve Scherer