Conte affirms 'quota 100' not to be touched

Rome would have to commit to budget cuts of around 3-4 billion euros to avoid EU sanctions. Photo credit: ANSA/Ettore Ferrari

ROME – Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announced on Thursday that his government’s ‘citizenship wage’ basic income and ‘quota 100’ pension reform will remain untouched despite the European Commission’s intentions to implement the infringement procedure against Italy.

 The Commission stated in a letter that the procedure “is justified” by the country’s economic recession and inability to comply with the debt rule, adding that the rule “was not respected” in 2018 and 2019, and would not be respected in 2020.

 "Italy must reconsider its budget trajectory and put it clearly on a path of descent, because the current one has created damage to Italy: growth goes down, interest on debt rises and there is a negative impact on investments,” Vice-President for the Euro and Social Dialogue Valdis Dombrovskis said, according to ANSA.

 Rome would have to commit to budget cuts of around 3-4 billion euros to avoid EU sanctions, La Reppublica reported. The Commission also raised a red flag against Italy’s ‘quota 100’ initiative arguing that the reform is a threat to sustainability and overturns positive results of past interventions. Deputy PM and Minister of Economic Development, Luigi Di Maio strongly defended the government’s initiative.

 “The infringement is for debts made by the Democratic Party. We will be responsible, but ‘100’ will not be touched,” he said.

 Minister of the Interior and Deputy PM Matteo Salvini argued that the only way to get Italy’s debt back on track is by reducing taxes. "The only way to reduce the debt created in the past is to cut taxes (Flat Tax) and allow Italians to work more and better. With cuts, sanctions and austerity, debt, poverty, insecurity and unemployment have increased. We must do the opposite. We do not ask for the money of others, we only want to invest in work, growth, research and infrastructure. I am sure that they will respect this in Brussels," ANSA quoted Salvini.