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Italy's Di Maio raps Salvini over "irresponsible" debt remarks

ROME, May 14 (Reuters) - Deputy Prime Minister Luigi Di Maio on Tuesday criticised a suggestion by his coalition partner Matteo Salvini that Italy could break European Union fiscal rules and raise its public debt in order to spur jobs.

Di Maio, leader of the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement, told reporters in the central Italian city of Perugia that it was "pretty irresponsible" to create market tensions by speaking about increasing the already-high debt level.

Earlier on Tuesday Salvini, leader of the right-wing League, said Italy should be ready to break the EU's 3-percent-of-GDP deficit ceiling and push the debt as high as 140 percent of GDP if necessary, to lower unemployment.

Salvini and Di Maio are competing for votes ahead of European Parliament elections on May 26.

(writing by Gavin Jones)