Italy’s Tria says EU forecasts are inaccurate, incomplete

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FILE PHOTO: Italian Finance Minister Giovanni Tria attends a euro zone finance ministers meeting in Brussels, Belgium November 5, 2018. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir/File Photo

ROME (Reuters) – Italian Economy Minister Giovanni Tria on Thursday condemned latest European Commission economic forecasts for Italy, which were worse than Rome’s own data, saying the EU analysis was wrong and limited.

“The European Commission’s forecasts for the Italian deficit are in sharp contrast to those of the Italian government and derive from an inaccurate and incomplete analysis (of the budget),” Tria said in a statement.

“We regret to note this technical slip on the part of the Commission, which will not influence the continuation of constructive dialogue with the Commission,” he added.

The Commission forecasts said the Italian budget would push the deficit to 2.9 percent of gross domestic product in 2019, rather than 2.4 percent seen by Italy, and to 3.1 percent in 2020, rather than fall to 2.1 as Rome predicted. [nB5N1SU01F]

Tria said the government was committed to respecting 2.4 percent as a top limit for the deficit next year.

The Commission said Italian GDP would rise 1.2 percent in 2019, instead of the 1.5 percent seen by Italy and rise 1.3 percent in 2020, rather than the 1.6 projected by Rome.

This would leave debt ratios little changed in the next three years, it said.

The Commission forecasts underline the view in Brussels, backed last Monday by all euro zone finance ministers, that Italy’s 2019 budget blatantly breaks European Union fiscal rules, which call for annual reductions in deficit and debt.

Reporting by Crispian Balmer, editing by Giulia Segreti

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