Dombrovskis says deal 'important step'

EC vice president says accord will improve economic growth

(ANSA) - Brussels, January 27 - European Commission Vice President for the Euro and Social Dialogue Valdis Dombrovskis said on Wednesday that the EC "favorably welcomes the accord reached by Vestager and Padoan", referring to a mechanism to manage over 200 billion euros in bad loans that are weighing on the balance sheets of Italian banks, agreed upon late Tuesday evening between Italian Economy Minister Pier Carlo Padoan and European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager.
    "It's an important step that, together with other reforms, will improve the capacity of banks to take back loans and will improve economic growth," Dombrovskis said, adding that "guarantees must be priced at market conditions" in order to avoid State aid.
    Dombrovskis said "it's too early to understand the budget implications" of the new guarantee mechanism, but that "press articles today talking about a very dramatic impact are highly exaggerated".
    Vincenzo Boccia, president of the credit and finance technical committee of employers group Confindustria, said the group took news of the accord "positively".
    "To understand, however, if it actually represents a step forward and if it is able to have a concrete impact, there will have to be a verification of whether the introduced rules, particularly with reference to the cost of the guarantee, will make the mechanism advantageous for banks and potential investors," Boccia said during a joint hearing before the finance and industry committees of the Lower House.