Italian Finance Minister Giovanni Tria, center, arrives for a round table meeting of eurogroup finance ministers at the European Council building in Luxembourg, Monday, Oct. 1, 2018. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)

Italian government backs down on part of spending plans

October 03, 2018 - 4:05 am

MILAN (AP) — Italy's economy minister is backing down on spending plans that would keep the country's deficit at an elevated level for three years.

Giovanni Tria said Wednesday in Rome that the deficit to GDP ratio would be gradually reduced after 2019. The remark confirms a report by Corriere della Sera that the 2.4-percent budget deficit in the new spending plan would apply only to next year.

The government also released a statement late Tuesday saying that officials were working on a proposal that would "accelerate the decline in the debt-to-GDP relationship over the course of three years."

The government's apparent softening was providing relief to financial markets, where investors are concerned that the planned spike in Italian spending will harm efforts to reduce its debt pile.