EU slams Italy's 'unprecedented' breaking of budget rules

Italy's Interior Minister Matteo Salvini gestures during a news conference with Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte after to approve a new decree of the measures on immigration and security at Chigi Palace in Rome Italy

In the first formal step of a procedure that could lead to Brussels rejecting the budget and to fines against Italy, the Commission sent Rome a warning letter on Thursday.

Moscovici said Italy would be treated like any other member state, adding: "I can not imagine a Europe without Italy or Italy without Europe".

Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister and interior Minister of Italy Matteo Salvini during his visit to Russia promised, in order to fight against European Union sanctions in respect of it. Looks like they managed to soften the EU's position on the Russian question.

Similarly, Spain and Portugal avoided fines in 2016 despite public deficits well beyond the limits.

The latest political news centering on Italy's latest budget pushed the common currency Euro to a fresh 1-week trough on concerns over political tensions within the Eurozone.

Italy's prime minister defended its free-spending budget on Thursday, brushing off criticism from Brussels as the European Commission stepped up pressure over a draft it labeled an unprecedented breach of EU fiscal rules. The EU ceiling is 60 percent.

Italy's deficit is now projected at 2.4 percent of GDP, far higher that the 0.8 percent estimate given by the earlier centre right government.

The EU commission chief said Italy have used all the elements of flexibility of EU rules, and that leaders don't want to add more room for manoeuvre for Italy.

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Conte, in a post on Facebook Thursday, said that the measures are "well-considered, well-constructed and well-realized", and he said the draft was "the only instrument that we have to ensure economic growth and social development to our country".

European Union leaders discussed eurozone reforms and the Italian draft budget at their summit in Brussels, with concerns on the rise over the planned budget boost by Rome's populist coalition government.

Luigi Di Maio, the head of the 5-Star Movement, said Friday that he was sure a solution would be found, adding "we will hardly let the government fall over an amnesty for whoever launders or self-launders money".

While 5 Star has always opposed amnesties, the right-wing League, with its traditional voter-base of self-employed businessmen, is more favourable. He denied a rift in the governing coalition.

The fiscal plan has spooked European financial markets.

On the sidelines of the summit, Conte met with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, both of whom have taken a hard line on the state of Italy's finances.

Aimed at fulfilling electoral promises, Italy's planned spending boost is what the government calls its "people's budget", a series of pension and tax changes that will cost 37 billion euros ($43 billion), of which 22 billion will be paid for by expanding the deficit. He said the main concerns revolve around the higher deficit, Italy's debt load and the possibility for growth.

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