This morning, the government of Italy has secured a vote of confidence in its budget for the upcoming year in the upper house after it was racing to gain the approval before the year-end deadline. The budget was agreed upon after a tense standoff with Brussels which saw the populist government water down some of its key measures.
The budget will now have to pass to the lower house of parliament for a vote that is scheduled by the 31st of December so that it may be able to take effect before the start of next year.
The governing coalition of the right-wing League and Italy’s 5-Star Movement was able to score majority approval with 167 to 78 votes in favour, with three abstentions.
Last Wednesday, the European Commission reached a deal with Italy over the budget after some months of disagreements, narrowly dodging disciplinary action.
The final text of the budget has only arrived at the Italian Senate yesterday following a series of extensive changes, which enraged the lawmakers of the opposition.
Matteo Renzi, the Former Prime Minister of Italy, said that the budget law was “a joke,” while Luigi Di Maio, the deputy prime minister, said that the plans must get through parliament before the end of the year.
Last October, the government of Giuseppe Conte, the Prime Minister of Italy, had initially proposed a budget which expanded its deficit to 2.4 percent of the GDP, an increase from the 1.8 percent that was recorded this year.
In its compromise with the European Union this month, this was then narrowed to 2.04 percent of the GDP for the next year, while reducing the economic outlook to one per cent.
The commission had warned Conte that it would discipline his government over its excessive deficit. It said that it broke the fiscal rules of the European Union.