Italy’s government is ready to present a final compromise offer to end a row with the European Commission over budget discipline, officials said Sunday.
There is “total agreement” on the proposal between Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte and Deputy Premiers Luigi Di Maio and Matteo Salvini, a spokeswoman for Salvini said.
She passed on the message after the three late Sunday held talks at government headquarters in Rome, but details about their agreement were unclear.
Last week, Conte told the EU Commission that Italy was ready to reduce its 2019 deficit from 2.4 to 2.04 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP).
But according to La Repubblica newspaper, Brussels wants from Rome a further deficit reduction of 0.2 percentage points. The talks Conte hosted Sunday were expected to address the issue.
Italy risks EU punitive action unless it takes steps to moderate its spending plans for next year, which the EU executive has rejected as an “unprecedented” deviation from eurozone rules.
“These are the most important hours we are experiencing” since a general election victory on March 4, Di Maio said on his party’s blog.
Di Maio leads the anti-establishment Five Star Movement (M5S), which has formed a government with the far-right League led by Salvini.
Italian government leaders are running out of time to resolve the budget row.
On Wednesday there is a weekly meeting of the EU commission in which punitive action against Italy could be launched, in the absence of a last-minute deal.
There is also an urgency to present any revised spending plans to the Italian Senate before it votes on the budget law in the coming days.