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Italy's Di Maio says he will back Italian people over markets

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) - Italy’s Deputy Prime Minister Luigi Di Maio said on Friday that he would rather defend Italian people than bow to markets if forced to make a choice.

The Italian government, made up of the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement and the right-wing League, targets a fiscal deficit at 2.4 percent of gross domestic product next year, three times the target set by the previous executive and putting the country on a collision course with the European Commission.

“We care about markets, but between the (BTP-Bund) spread and Italian people I choose the Italian people,” Di Maio said in an interview with RAI3 television.

Di Maio, who is also the leader of the 5-Star, said he does not see why the European Union should reject the country’s budget, adding that his government would curb tax breaks for banks and oil groups.

Economy Minister Giovanni Tria is doing a good job and no government reshuffle is on the horizon, Di Maio said, dismissing newspapers reports.

Reporting by Giselda Vagnoni, editing by Agnieszka Flak