March 11, 2020 / 12:34 PM / 24 days ago

Italy's econmin says ESM reform likely to be delayed

ROME, March 11 (Reuters) - Italy’s Economy Minister Roberto Gualtieri on Wednesday said a contested reform of a euro zone bailout fund (ESM) will probably not be concluded by March, as many European Union allies focus instead on the coronavirus crisis.

“It is reasonable to give priority to ... the coronavirus emergency. It is reasonable to imagine that it will not be possible to finalize the negotiations,” Gualtieri said referring to a meeting of euro zone economy ministers scheduled for March 16.

The proposed ESM reform has triggered strong criticism in Italy, with the right-wing opposition accusing the government of supporting measures that could hike Italy’s debt servicing cost. (Reporting by Giuseppe Fonte; writing by Angelo Amante; Editing by Crispian Balmer)

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