The EU Commission stated that disciplinary action against Italy over its rising debt was warranted in a press conference in Brussels on Wednesday, paving the way for the initiation of an Excessive Deficit Procedure.

European Economic and Financial Affairs Commissioner Pierre Moscovici explained that Italy's public debt had risen from 131 percent to 132 percent of total GDP, and that forecasts predicted further increases for 2019 and 2020.

"On this basis, and having examined all relevant factors, we have concluded that the debt criterion is currently not respected, and that the debt-based excessive deficit procedure is warranted for Italy," he said.

Moscovici added that his door was always open to look at new data should Italy make new fiscal commitments.

The recommendation will now be put to the European Council, whose members would have to agree with the assessment that action is warranted. The procedure could lead to Italy being hit with financial sanctions and even a fine.

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