p>The Italian Senate approved the new budget targets by 165 votes to 107, with the lower house following suit, passing it by 331 to 191. The Cabinet is slated to sign off the spending plans on Monday, Deputy Prime Minister Luigi Di Maio said.

The proposed budget passed despite it being criticized as unrealistic by the parliament's own budget office and the Bank of Italy.

€22 billion in the red

Earlier on Thursday, IMF Chief Christine Lagarde said that Italy must abide to the EU's fiscal discipline rules.

The budget plans are due to be submitted to the European Commission on Monday. Italian ministers have said that EU officials should reserve judgment until further details have been unveiled.

dm/xx (Reuters, AP, AFP)