Italian PM Willing to ‘Tweak’ Budget Plan to Avoid EU Sanctions

Italy’s prime minister has signalled he would be willing to modify his government’s budget plan in response to criticism from Brussels but only if the expensive welfare policies it contains remain intact, the Financial Times reported. Giuseppe Conte said minor amendments could be made to Rome’s populist coalition government’s budget to avoid Italy being sanctioned by the European Commission. “Right now if I am able to recover some funds, tweak the final figure, change a few things it doesn’t mean that I am backtracking,” Mr Conte said in an interview with La Repubblica newspaper. Mr Conte’s comments signal a willingness by Rome to compromise over budget plans that the European Commission labelled an “unprecedented” breach of its spending rules, and which have sparked concerns in financial markets that the eurozone’s third-largest economy is not taking steps to reduce its hulking public debt. Read more