MILAN (Reuters) – The Italian president called the Economy Minister on Thursday to ask him not to resign after the government targeted a budget deficit of 2.4 percent for the next three years, several newspapers said.

The papers said President Sergio Mattarella had asked Giovanni Tria to stay on to avoid market uncertainty.

Tria had initially wanted a deficit set as low as 1.6 percent next year, hoping to respect European Union demands that Italy progressively cut the fiscal gap to rein in its high debt.

Reporting by Stephen Jewkes; Editing by Kim Coghill

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