Italian PM Warns ‘No Plan B’ After Brussels Rejects Italian Budget

(From L) Italy's Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister, Matteo Salvini, Italy's Prime Minister, Giuseppe Conte and Italy's Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economic Development, Labour and Social Policies, Luigi Di Maio attend a press conference following a Cabinet meeting on the country's draft budget, prior to its submission …

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has warned that there is no “plan B” for Italy following the European Commission’s unprecedented rejection of the Italian budget.

After weeks of back and forth between Brussels and the populist coalition government in Rome, the European Union’s Commission has rejected the Italian budget and told the government to draft another, Il Giornale reports.

The EU has given the Italians three weeks to come up with a new budget proposal after the original had caused consternation in Brussels due to the increase of spending to around 2.4 percent of GDP in order to pay for the basic income policy proposed by the Five Star Movement.

“There isn’t any B plan, I said that the deficit at 2.4 percent of GDP is the cap. I can say this will be our cap,” Prime Minister Conte said following the rejection.

Italy’s two deputy Prime Ministers, leader of the League Matteo Salvini and Five Star Movement head Luigi Di Maio, slammed the Commission’s decision with Salvini saying that he would meet with Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker to tell him: “No one will remove a euro from the pockets of Italians.”

“The EU has rejected the Italian economic manoeuvre, but nothing changes,” Salvini said and added: “They simply irritate the Italians more and then one wonders why the popularity of the EU is at a minimum in Italy and Europe.”

Salvini’s comments allude to a recent study which revealed that only 44 percent of Italians would actually vote to remain in the European Union if a referendum on membership were held.

The European Commission is not the only one expressing concern over the Italian budget. Earlier this week Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz demanded that the EU put on the brakes, fearing that the Italians would hold the bloc “hostage.”

The comments came after the budget was also slammed by rating agencies like Moody’s which downgraded Italy’s credit rating as a result of the budget proposal.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


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