Italy will not leave the European Union or abandon the euro, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said on Monday amid a standoff with Brussels over the populist government’s big-spending budget.
“Read my lips: for Italy there is no chance of Italexit, to get out of Europe or the eurozone,” Conte told journalists in Rome after the European Commission voiced serious concern over the government’s proposed budget aimed at stimulating growth.
The governing coalition told Brussels that it would stick to its high-spending draft budget, but will scrupulously avoid going over its own debt and deficit limits.
“The figure of 2.4 percent [deficit to GDP ratio in 2019] is a ceiling that we have solemnly undertaken to respect,” Conte told journalists after the coalition sent its pledge in a letter to EU officials in Brussels.
The European Commission formally warned Italy last week that its plans for 2019 were a serious concern, sending a letter to Rome to warn that it did not rule out rejecting the entire budget.