Oct 23, 2018

European Commission rejects Italy's budget proposal

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte (center) with Deputy Prime Ministers Luigi Di Maio (left) and Matteo Salvini (right). Photo: Simona Granati - Corbis/Getty Images

In an expected but unprecedented step, the European Commission has rejected the budget proposal put forth by Italy's populist government, Bloomberg reports.

Why it matters: Italy's budget proposal included tax cuts and a guaranteed "citizens income" for the poor, and would have raised its annual budget deficit to 2.4% of GDP. Italy's debt is already the second-highest in Europe, and its plans to boost spending have sparked investor fears and prompted Moody's Investors Service to downgrade the country's debt to one level above junk.

The big picture: The European Commission asks all EU member states to submit budgets that keep their annual deficits below 3%. While Italy's proposal meets that limit, its overall debt currently sits at a sky-high 130% of GDP. Italy now has three weeks to revise its plans and submit a new proposal, but Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has reportedly said the government has no "Plan B" for fiscal spending, per Bloomberg.

What to watch: The budget rift between Italy and Brussels will likely fuel even stronger feelings of discontent in one of the most Euroskeptic countries in the EU.

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South Korea and Italy see spikes in coronavirus cases

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

The novel coronavirus continues to spread to more nations, and the U.S. reports a doubling of its confirmed cases to 34 — while noting those are mostly due to repatriated citizens, emphasizing there's no "community spread" yet in the U.S. South Korea's confirmed cases jumped from 204 on Friday to 433 on Saturday, while Italy's case count rose from 3 to 62 as of Saturday.

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Centrist Democrats beseech 2020 candidates: "Stand up to Bernie" or Trump wins

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What they're saying: "At the Las Vegas debate ... you declined to really challenge Senator Sanders. If you repeat this strategy at the South Carolina debate this week, you could hand the nomination to Sanders, likely dooming the Democratic Party — and the nation — to Trump and sweeping down-ballot Republican victories in November."