0903 GMT February 15, 2019
“If I have the chance to reduce the economic impact of some measures I’m here,” Conte told the Italian daily of La Repubblica, Reuters reported.
“I’m the one who is entitled to speak with the European Commission ... and I never halted discussions. Right now if I can recover some funds, tweak the final figure, change a few little things, it doesn’t mean I’m backtracking,” he said.
“If they bring me calculations which allow me to write 2.3 percent or 2.1 percent I’m still carrying out proposed reforms,” he added in reference to next year’s deficit goal of 2.4 percent of gross domestic product.
Rome and Brussels have been engaged in a blistering battle of words since European Commission rejected Italy's draft budget for 2019.
Italy has insisted it needs to increase its deficit to 2.4 percent, which breaks EU fiscal rules that are designed to protect the eurozone.
The European Commission said the deficit is too high, and has called on Rome to change its fiscal plans.
Given the refusal of the Italian government to reduce its budget deficit forecast next year from 2.4 percent of annual GDP, analysts expect Italy will be subject to EU sanctions under so-called excessive deficit procedures, which could take months.