ROME (Reuters) – The European Commission will give the green light to Italy’s 2015 budget and re-examine in March whether promised reforms have been made to boost the ailing economy, main Italian news outlets said on Sunday.
Prime Minister Matteo Renzi’s government has expressed confidence that the Commission will accept a budget which it agreed to tighten last month to meet Brussels’s requirements.
Italy’s biggest newspapers and broadcast outlets said on Sunday the Commission had given the “all-clear” to the document and agreed with Renzi and economy minister Pier Carlo Padoan that there had been “exceptional circumstances” in Italy in 2014 which should be considered in their assessment.
The Commission, due to announce its evaluation of Italy’s budget plans by the end of November, will also approve France’s and Belgium’s budgets and review them in March, several of the reports said, citing unnamed European Union sources.
Italy, which has seen its economy shrink some 9 per cent since 2007, agreed last month to adjust its original budget and raise its target for cutting its deficit-to-GDP ratio.
Commission members decided at a meeting on Saturday to approve Italy’s budget while telling Rome to press ahead with reforms and planning to review its progress next March, said the reports.
Like Italy, France’s persistent public deficits have placed it at risk of penalties when its 2015 budget is reviewed. French Finance Minister Michel Sapin has played down the risk of fines.