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Italy and France soften budget stance at EU summit

Italy's Prime Minister Matteo Renzi talks to the media at the end of an EU Summit in Brussels, on June 27, 2014Italy and France left an EU summit on Friday without a sought after change to the bloc’s strict budget pact, winning only an assurance that countries can make the most of flexibility already built into existing rules. The European Union’s 28 leaders were gathered in Brussels to nominate former Luxembourg premier Jean Claude Juncker, a conservative Brussels insider whose nomination was bitterly opposed by Britain’s David Cameron. In return for their backing of Juncker, the leaders of France and Italy, both left-of-centre socialists, hoped for leniency from Germany and other member states to meet the EU’s strict limits on deficits and public debt.

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