(Adds Conte quotes, EU comment)
BRUSSELS, Sept 11 (Reuters) – The European Union should give Italy more time to cut its debt and support a plan to reinvigorate investment in the country, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said after a meeting in Brussels with the president-designate of the European Commission.
“Our target is to reduce the debt,” Conte told reporters. “But we want to do it through economic growth and investments,” he said, adding that Italy would need “some time” to reach its fiscal targets and invest in the green economy, digitalisation and the relaunch of its impoverished south.
Conte, on his first visit to Brussels after becoming the head of a government backed by the 5-star and Democratic Party, repeated calls for a lenient interpretation of EU fiscal rules. Past Italian governments made similar requests; some led to prolonged disputes with the European Union.
After Conte met the commission’s president-designate, Ursula von der Leyen, an EU official said: “They had a good exchange about the new political situation in Italy. And also about migration and economics. No concrete results.” (Reporting by Francesco Guarascio @fraguarascio, editing by Larry King)
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