The EU looks increasingly likely to impose disciplinary procedures on Italy over the management of its huge public debt, after inconclusive meetings on Friday between the Italian finance minister and his EU partners.
Speaking to bond investors and bankers at a conference in London, Tria said that Italy would not breach European rules this year but instead “compensate” for excesses by lowering spending.
Meanwhile, deputy prime minister and leader of the League party, Matteo Salvini, has placed further pressure on the finance minister, saying that he must cut taxes if he is to stay in government.
“They pay my salary to give jobs to the Italian people, not to say yes sir, yes master to an office in Brussels,” Salvini said at the annual Confartigianato artisans’ conference.
“Those who want to be a minister in this team know that tax cuts are a priority for the country.
“Cutting taxes isn’t a Salvini whim, it’s an emergency.”
Speaking at the same conference, Italian President Sergio Mattarella emphasised that it is necessary to keep the public finances in order “to support the economy and the development of new projects”.
The problem for the government is how best to achieve that.
Salvini responded to Mattarella, saying: “The accounts are not in order because we applied the rules of precariousness and austerity and cuts imposed by Europe for too many years.”
“The public debt has grown by €650 billion in 10 years,” he added.
“It is necessary for the Italian people to work to bring it down and the Italian people will work more if firms pay fewer taxes.”
On Monday, Salvini said that a “Trumpian” budget is required to boost the Italian economy.
Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has since stated that besides “Trumpian”, Italy requires a “Contian” plan that is “in the interest of the country” and not “made elsewhere”, neither in Brussels nor in Washington.
All eyes are on the Italian coalition as they head to a June 20 - 21 summit in Brussels, where Conte will attempt to plead Italy’s case with outgoing Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker and EU leaders.