Eurozone finance ministers stood their ground against the Italian government tonight, as it urged policymakers in Rome to revise its draft budget to align with European rules.
The European Commission rejected Italy’s free-spending draft budget plan last month and ordered the government to submit a revised budget by 13 November.
The EU’s economic and financial affairs commissioner Pierre Moscovici said at a press briefing: “The ball is now in Italy’s court.”
“Member states must fully respect national democratic choices, but they should not run counter to our [rules].”
Moscovici added that Italy was in isolation on the issue, as all Eurozone ministers at the meeting supported the Commission’s approach.
Italian finance minister Giovanni Tria later told reporters that the main parts of the budget “will not change, but we are discussing it”.
If Italy fails to provide a budget which meets EU expectations, the Commission may launch disciplinary action against Rome which could include fines and lead to a suspension of EU funds.
Moscovici said the Commission fully expects Italy to submit a revised plan by the upcoming deadline.