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France's 'yellow vests' may have helped Italy resolve its budget dispute with the EU

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France's 'yellow vests' may have helped Italy resolve its budget dispute with the EU
'Gilet jaune' protesters in Paris. Photo: Christophe Archambault/AFP
13:51 CET+01:00
Italy's prime minister suggested on Thursday that the "yellow vest" protests marked by violent clashes in France could be partly to thank for Rome resolving its budget dispute with the European Union.

Brussels had threatened to fine Italy for spending plans that EU officials said broke Rome's deficit and debt-reduction commitments, but the sides finally called a truce on Wednesday after Italy backed down from two of its key spending policies.

The French protest movement "could have weighed" on the matter, "even if that is difficult to quantify," Italy's Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte was quoted as saying by the newspaper Corriere della Sera.

READ ALSO: Italy has reached a deal with the EU over its 2019 budget


Photo: Emmanuel Dunand/AFP

In France, protesters have staged mass demonstrations against government fuel-tax rises and high living costs, leading to clashes with police. France's government responded to the protests by last week announcing a new wave of spending for 2019.

That sparked suggestions of double standards since France's plans, like Italy's, risk breaking EU finance limits.

Conte said he "explicitly mentioned the revolt of the yellow jackets" in his talks on the deficit dispute with EU Economic Affairs Cmmissioner Pierre Moscovici, a former French finance minister.

Italy is governed by an alliance of populist groups who chose Conte, a lawyer and political newcomer, as their figurehead. 

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