Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said on Wednesday that the European Union (EU) should give Italy more time to reduce debt and draw up a plan to reinvigorate its investments in the country. He said so after consulting Brussels with Ursula von der Leyen, the new President of the European Commission.

"Our goal is to reduce debt. We want to do that by stimulating economic growth and making investments," says Conte.

The prime minister again calls for a milder interpretation of tax rules in the EU. Conte's predecessors did that too, which often led to lengthy discussions. The current prime minister may, however, have the wind, since a document leaked on Tuesday indicating that Brussels is going to look into the tax rules.

An EU official said after the meeting of Conte and Von der Leyen that it was a "good exchange", but without concrete results for the time being.