EU Commission admonishes deficit countries

The EU Commission has warned the governments of France, Italy, Spain, Portugal and Belgium that their draft budgets for 2020 may be in violation of EU rules. Brussels has now ordered these countries to provide further information on how they intend to keep their finances under control. A justified move, observers from Italy and Spain say.

Open/close all quotes
ABC (ES) /

Spanish government ignoring all warning signs

The Spanish daily ABC sees Brussels' tough stance as justified:

“The new separatist initiative and the trial of strength of the last few years have sapped so much of our country's energy that the economic debate threatens to slip into the background. Yet this debate is important for the new government because it will have to contend with a global slowdown in economic growth. Sánchez's government, in permanent election mode, has no interest in undertaking the adjustments this new period of economic contraction demands. ... This severe admonishment from Brussels has nothing to do with the provisional nature of the government, but with the irresponsibility and stubbornness with which it is ignoring all the signs and warnings.”

La Stampa (IT) /

Not the way to improve one's image

La Stampa's Brussels correspondent Marco Zatterin also sympathises with the EU Commission's stance:

“The dispute will probably end well, but it's not often that a big country presents the EU Commission with an incomplete draft budget which even a week later still doesn't definitively set out all the revenues and expenditures. And seldom has the EU executive had to respond with an ultimatum to provide 'clarification' within 24 hours. But that's exactly what happened yesterday. To the Italy under the new Conte government. The same Italy that wanted to improve its image in Europe.”