We respect the rules, optimistic on procedure says Tria

EC continuing preparatory work says Juncker spokesman

(ANSA) - Rome, June 25 - Economy Minister Giovanni Tria said Tuesday he was optimistic Italy could avert an EU infringement procedure for breaking the debt rule, saying that Italy was respecting the rules.
    "WE think that Italy is respecting in a substantive way the European budget rules and I am optimistic for this reason regarding the European (infringement) procedure", he said at an international economic seminar at Villa Mondragone in Monte Porzio Catone near Rome.
    "I don't see obstacles to an accord with the EU," he went on.
    "For a zero-growth economy the target of a public deficit of 2.1% for the current year represents a more than prudent budget policy and we will arrive at this level of deficit thanks to a prudential management even though we are implementing the social policies decided in the last budget law," he said, referring to a basic income and the 'quota 100' early retirement scheme.
    Tria went on to say that cutting taxes was part of the government programme.
    "It certainly is part of our programme," he said when asked if there would be a 'flat tax' as requested by Deputy Premier Matteo Salvini.
    "Parliament has approved this. The VAT hike form the next year is part of the current State law. We are working to avoid it." Tria also said that "for the future the idea is to keep the deficit low and continue with the objective of lowering the debt not by raising taxes but via lower current spending: that is our commitment to towards parliament and we are working to satisfy this mandate with the next budget law".
    The government is working to avert an infringement procedure by finding several billion euros of cash.
    Salvini is insisting on an early budget bill and the dual rate 'flat tax'.
    The European Commission has said a procedure is justified.
    The European Commission "is continuing its preparatory work" on an infringement procedure against Italy for braking the debt rule, a spokesman for EC chief Jean-Claude Juncker said Tuesday.
    This work is proceeding "in line with what is laid down in the Treaties", he said.
    He said this was being done in the wake of the June 5 report that concluded that a procedure was justified, and after the backing of financial ministers.
    "The college of the EU Commissioners has been updated on the Italian situation," he said.
    "It has had a discussion, and has decided to return to the issue next week".
    The next session of the college is scheduled for next Tuesday, July 2.