BRATISLAVA, Sept 9 The euro zone's bailout fund
has not discussed the provision of financial aid to Italian
banks, the head of the fund said on Friday, dismissing reports
that the Italian government had considered such a move to
support its ailing banking sector.
"The ESM (European Stability Mechanism) has an instrument
available to inject capital into banks," Klaus Regling told a
news conference in the Slovak capital Bratislava at the end of a
regular meeting of euro zone finance ministers.
"But there is no discussion at all to use this instrument. I
don't see that at all happening. It would require a unanimous
decision of the board of governors," Regling added.
La Stampa newspaper reported on Monday, citing three sources
with knowledge of the matter, that Prime Minister Matteo Renzi
was considering trying to tap the ESM to help Banca Monte dei
Paschi di Siena. An Italian government official denied
the report immediately after its publication.
(Reporting by Francesco Guarascio; Editing by Gareth Jones)