Italy’s Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said he hoped to reach a deal with the European Commission over Italy's budget plans for next year, in his National Statement at the end of the European Council in Brussels on Friday.

Conte said that "earlier we presented a [proposed deficit of] 2.4 [percent of GDP for 2019], not to bang a punch on the table, the Latin said 'quia nominor leo' [because my name is Leo], because I need to reaffirm my prerogatives, no."

"We presented [that number] because in that moment we had those results, those projections and to realise that project of economic and social policy we needed that budget with those numbers," he explained.

The EU had rejected the initial Italian budget assumptions but Rome has now issued a changed plan with a lower deficit envisaged, in the hopes of avoiding possible disciplinary procedures.

Today, after revisions, after more precise calculations that we received we can say that it's a [deficit of] 2.04 [percent of GDP]."

However, he said that they won't go lower than that, despite admitting that there isn't a lot of margin with the European Commission: "We have no margin to negotiate like in a food market, where one goes and haggles in a negotiation: 'I give you this, you give me that, try to understand, try to be good, try not to be good'."

The European Commission is yet to officially state if they approve the new budget plans presented by Conte and his government.

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