ROME - On December 19 the long lasting controversy over Italy’s budget for the 2019 fiscal year was settled during talks between Rome and Brussels, which paved the way for a national-level approval procedure.

The upper house of the Italian parliament approved Rome’s proposed 2019 budget plan on

Sunday.

The government’s budget plan received 167 votes for its implementation, 78 votes against with 3 abstentions.

Earlier, Brussels and Rome concluded a deal on Italy’s 2019 draft budget, initially rejected by the EU authorities over concerns about the country’s debt.

It was agreed that Italy will narrow its 2019 deficit forecast to 2.04 percent of GDP instead of the initial 2.40 percent and lower its economic growth outlook to 1.0 percent from 1.5 percent, according to Reuters.

Italy’s previous budget plan was rejected by Brussels in October and November after being described by European Commission Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis as “serious non-compliance”.

Tourists stroll in downtown Venice, Italy, Saturday, Nov. 12, 2016. Since 1951, Venice’s population has steadily shrunk from 175,000 to some 55,000. Several factors are blamed, including high prices driven by a boom in tourism, the logistics of supplying a carless city, and the erosion of canal-side apartment buildings by lapping waters Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini, commenting on the EC’s November decision initially said that the government would not negotiate over its fiscal targets and dismissed possible EC sanctions as “disrespectful”.

According to EU rules if its member countries fail to comply with Brussels requirements in the context of a special procedure called Excessive Debt Procedure (EDP) it may be fined 0.2 percent of its GDP or have EU assistance temporary suspended.