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Italy calls for budget talks with EU, targets GDP growth of 1.5% in 2019

Italy's Economy Minister Giovanni Tria said the country is seeking an "open and constructive dialogue" with the European Commission about its three-year budget plan, which sets out the country's economic growth targets over the next three years, Reuters reported.

In a letter to the Commission, Tria said Italy is aiming for economic growth of 1.5% in 2019, 1.6% in 2020 and 1.4% in 2021 with its budget plan, which also sets the government's fiscal deficit target at 2.4% of gross domestic product in 2019.

The economy minister urged the Commission to take into consideration "the good reasons for the growth strategy set out by the government."

Tria's letter comes after the European Commission criticized Italy's plans for 2019 to increase the fiscal deficit target, saying it would risk violating European spending rules. Tria confirmed Oct. 3 that the government would go ahead with the increase for 2019, but said it would cut the budget deficit as a percentage of gross domestic product for 2020 and 2021.

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said on Oct. 3 that Rome would lower its budget deficit to 2.1% of GDP in 2020 and 1.8% by 2021, according to the Financial Times.