EU steps up pressure over Italy debt, flags stability concerns

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The European Union’s push to bring Italy into line with the bloc’s fiscal rules intensified on Thursday (June 13) as top officials called for new measures to address budget shortfalls and raised concerns for the euro zone’s stability from Rome’s high debt.

Eurogroup President Mario Centeno warned Italian authorities they must clarify how they will comply with EU debt rules ahead of a meeting of the eurozone finance ministers in Luxembourg, adding the stability of the euro zone is dependent on how Italy proceeds.

Arriving for the same meeting, European Economic Commissioner Pierre Moscovici said the Commission was ready to recommend opening EU disciplinary steps against Italy, but that it was still avoidable.

Italy’s Finance Minister Giovanni Tria said new data on the country’s lower deficit showed additional measures were not needed.

The EU’s executive Commission forecasts that Italy’s debt will rise further above the EU’s ceiling of 60% from about 132% of its economic output at present.

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