Italy’s President Sergio Mattarella, left, and Italy’s Economy and Finance Minister Giovanni Tria shake hands in Rome.
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Brussels officially rejected Italy's big-spending budget Wednesday, clearing the path for unprecedented sanctions and deepening a bitter row with Rome's populist government. The conclusion by the European Commission, the EU's executive arm, was harsh but expected, coming just weeks after it had sent back Italy's 2019 budget, in a historic first for the bloc.Once activated, the process allows Rome the opportunity to negotiate and correct its ways before Brussels can inflict a sanction of up to 0.2 percent of Italy's GDP.In its budget, Italy intends to run a public deficit of 2.4 percent of gross domestic product in 2019 three times the target of the government's center-left predecessor and one of 2.1 percent in 2020 .Brussels forecasts Italy's deficit will reach 2.9 percent of GDP in 2019 and hit 3.1 percent in 2020 breaching the EU's 3.0 percent limit.
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