EU asks Italy to better explain debt or face legal action

Associated Press |

BRUSSELS (AP) — Europe's economy commissioner is urging Italy to quickly provide any new information it might have to explain its high debt levels and or face the prospect of imminent legal action.

Pierre Moscovici told reporters Wednesday that "we stand ready to take into account any new elements that Italy may put forward, but let's not waste time."

The European Commission, which supervises budget plans in the 28 member states, says that Italy's public debt stood at 132.2% of GDP in 2018, far above the EU's 60% limit. Debt is forecast to rise to 135% this year.

The commission believes an "excessive deficit procedure" should be launched against Italy, and the EU's financial economics committee agrees that action is warranted. EU member states must also agree for it to happen.

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