ROME: Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini said on Tuesday he hoped the European Commission would not “drag out" talks over Italy's contested 2019 budget, adding that he was “absolutely optimistic" a deal would be reached.

The Commission rejected Italy's expansionary draft budget in October, saying it was in clear breach of EU fiscal rules. Rome submitted a revised plan last week with a lower deficit, and intensive negotiations over the package are still on-going.

Salvini told reporters that the Italian parliament would pass the budget before the end of the year, even if it meant lawmakers had to work through the night of December 31.

Copyright Reuters, 2018