EU Economics Affairs Commissioner Pierre Moscovici addresses a press conference on the European Semester Autumn Package at the European Commission in Brussels, on November 16, 2016. / AFP / EMMANUEL DUNAND
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The EU said Wednesday that draft budgets from Italy and seven other eurozone countries risk breaking the bloc's rules, setting up a row with Prime Minister Matteo Renzi ahead of a crucial referendum.The European Commission said the budgets for Spain and Portugal were also problematic, just a year after the two countries became the first to officially face sanctions for public over-spending.But the commission, the executive arm of the European Union, dropped a threat to suspend EU funds for Lisbon and Madrid.Rajoy's caretaker government had sent a draft 2017 budget to Brussels which included a forecast that the public deficit would come in at 3.6 percent next year.But the European Commission has ordered Madrid to lower the deficit down to 3.1 percent, which will require roughly 5.5 billion euros ($6.1 billion) in budget cuts.
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