As the standoff between Rome and Brussels continues, the EU has said loud and clear that there is "no future" for Italy outside the euro zone.
The European Commission — the legislation arm of the EU — and Italy have been arguing over Rome's financial plans for 2019, after the new anti-establishment government in the country decided to increase public spending in the coming years.
In its plans for 2019, Rome said that it will increase the public deficit to 2.4 percent of GDP (gross domestic product) — three times higher than what the previous government had promised. However, taking into account all the new policies that Rome wants to put forward, the European Commission said Thursday that Italy's 2019 deficit will in fact be 2.9 percent — close to the EU's threshold of 3 percent.
The European Commission said previously that it's not only worried about Italy's headline deficit, but mostly with its structural deficit (which excludes the state of the economy). A deviation from the European fiscal rules could put Italy's finances under closer scrutiny by Brussels and they could even be put under certain restrictions. The latter could be the so-called excessive deficit procedure (EDP), which aims to help countries correct their finances.
In 2020, the government deficit is projected to reach 3.1 percent of GDP, the Commission said, warning that risks related to market reactions could potentially worsen that forecast.