Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi has vowed to try and prevent the Italian financial system from falling off a cliff, and argued that the problem of non-performing loans within the country’s third largest lender, Monte dei Paschi di Siena, is now over, saying that a last-minute rescue package for the bank on Friday has “cut off the problem.”
Speaking to CNBC’s Julia Chatterley in an interview aired on Tuesday, Renzi said:
Now for the first time, Monte dei Paschi is without NPLs because the operation called Atlante claimed every NPL in the bank. So this is the final.
I think there is the best way to solve the problem of NPL is the growth. And this is my priority, my dream and my nightmare, every day I think about it. Growth, growth, growth.
Renzi said that Friday’s rescue package — led by a consortium of banks, including Deutsche Bank, JP Morgan,Goldman Sachs, Citi, Santander, and Credit Suisse, which included a €5 billion recapitalisation plan for the world’s oldest bank — had helped to solve one of the biggest problems facing the Italian financial system, and that he would now focus on ensuring growth for Italy’s banks.
Renzi also said that he will not enforce any EU-mandated plans to follow through with bail-in laws, and that any such rules would be a “disaster” for the Italian economy.
Speaking in English, Renzi said: “Italy is totally fighting for avoid bail-in because also soft bail in could be a disaster for the credibility and for the confidence.”
Renzi also talked about what Britain’s vote to leave the EU would mean for the rest of the continent, calling it an “incredible wake-up.”
“There are (will be) a lot of problems around Europe, if Europe doesn’t consider Brexit an incredible wake-up.”
“I think the priority is to really change the relation between Europe and citizens. If we don’t change, the risk will be Europe becomes responsible (in the eyes of citizens) for every problem in this continent,” he added.
Renzi also reiterated his belief that he and his Democratic Party will win October’s referendum on constitutional reforms, although warned that a period of instability could follow regardless of the result. Here’s an extract from Renzi’s CNBC interview:
“I will win. But I think people need to understand what instability will follow. Not just the fact that you’re still going to have this quick turnover of governments if you don’t manage this reform. But also, there’s a risk if you look at the polls, that we’re in a situation where perhaps the Five Star Movement are allowed to lead this country. The people need to understand what voting no here means — we learnt that in the UK.”