The European Union's finance ministers have agreed on a reform of the euro zone after 18 hours of talks, Eurogroup president Mario Centeno said Tuesday.
At a press conference, at the end of an 18-hour bargaining marathon that began Monday afternoon in Brussels and lasted until dawn, Centeno announced: "I must say we got it. After several months of intense negotiations and a difficult meeting, we reached an agreement on a plan to strengthen the euro. A plan that has the endorsement of all of us. "
Just over a year after he was elected chairman of the forum of eurozone finance ministers, the Portuguese minister made the most significant progress to complete the reform of the eurozone institutions, which he pointed out as the top priority of his presidency.
Last night, the Eurogroup Finance and Economy ministers also announced the support of the European Commission's opinion on Italy's State Budget for 2019, considered a "particularly serious violation" of community rules. "We support the Commission in its assessment and recommend that Italy take the necessary steps to comply with the Stability and Growth Pact," the leaders said at a meeting of the group in Brussels.
Commissioner for Economic Affairs Pierre Moscovici explained that the EU executive has recommended opening an excessive deficit procedure to Italy, based on debt, and is preparing any decisions if the government led by Giuseppe Conte remains intransigent. "We have to prepare the decisions, which does not mean that we take them," he said.
Pierre Moscovici, speaking at the entrance to the Eurogroup meeting in Brussels, said he had noticed a change of tone in the Government of Italy, which opened the door to a "real dialogue" on the Italian budget plan for 2019.
On 21 November and 23 October, the European Commission rejected the Italian budget for 2019, considering that the proposal contains a "particularly serious risk of non-compliance", and recommended the opening of an excessive deficit-debt procedure.