Renzi govt survives no-confidence votes

Rome strikes deal with Commission on bad loans

    (ANSA) - Rome, January 27 - The government of center-left Premier Matteo Renzi on Wednesday survived two no-confidence votes over alleged conflicts of interest in its handling of four failed 'popolari' or cooperative banks that were rescued last year. The motions were filed by Silvio Berlusconi's centre-right Forza Italia (FI) party jointly with the rightwing, anti-immigrant Northern League (LN), and by the anti-euro, anti-establishment 5-Star Movement (M5S). In a speech prior to the vote, Renzi said he was "proud" of last year's reform of the cooperative lenders, which should have been overhauled 25 years ago. "If that had been done at the end of the 1990s...we would have avoided...the last 15 years of connivance between the credit system and politics," he said in reference to several consecutive Berlusconi administrations. He went on to say that FI was "split and ever fewer" in number, and that the premise of its no-confidence motion over his government's handling of Banca Etruria is "totally disconnected from reality". "The motion says our decree on the 'popolari' banks made mandatory the transformation and the listing of Banca Etruria," he said. "But of all the banks affected by the January decree, Banca Etruria was the only one already listed". Banca Etruria is being used to attack him, he said. "We are totally used to it, and we are not afraid," he said. He went on to tell FI Senators that the government's banks decree saved thousands of jobs. "There is no conflict of interest, but an attempt with that decree to save one million current account holders and 7,000 employees," he said. "We would never have destroyed pieces of the economy in the name of a political battle against government - Italy comes before political quarrels". An alleged conflict of interest for Reform Minister Maria Elena Boschi over the rescue of Banca Etruria, where her father was vice president, "does not exist", Renzi said. "This government put Banca Etruria under a commissioner as it did with other banks without having any concern for names and surnames," he told the Senate. "For us there are no friends or friends of friends". "In this country, those who err must pay and it is not up to you to decide who pays, it's up to the judges," he told lawmakers. He concluded by saying that "the centre-right left Italy in a worse state than it found it. We will leave it better than how we found it". In related news, executive government sources said Wednesday the government is at work on a banks package that will include the cooperative banks reform plus measures to speed up recovery of outstanding loans and their securitization, as per an accord Economy Minister Pier Carlo Padoan hammered out in Brussels on Tuesday. The package will be ready for cabinet next week, the sources said. Padoan said earlier the deal he negotiated with the EU on a public guarantee for the securitization of bad loans will have no impact on Italy's budget deficit or its public debt.


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