Italian budget wins Senate approval amid outcry

The Italian government won a grueling vote of confidence on its 2019 budget in the upper house in the early hours of Sunday (December 23) as it races to get the package approved before a year-end deadline. Last Wednesday (December 19) the European Commission reached a deal with Italy over its 2019 budget after months of verbal sparring, avoiding disciplinary steps against Rome.

But the changes led to extensive redrafting and on Saturday (December 22) a final text only arrived in the Senate at the last minute, triggering uproar from opposition lawmakers. The Democratic Party said it would ask an Italian top court to rule on the constitutionality of the move, claiming there had been no time to debate the law in detail.

The budget now has to be approved by the lower house of parliament before the end of the year so it can take effect from the start of 2019. In Italy, if budgets are not approved by Dec 31, then automatic provisional financing for the state kicks in.