June 21, 2019 / 5:39 PM / 3 months ago

Italy will seek ECB's opinion about planned central bank reform-League MP

ROME, June 21 (Reuters) - Italy’s ruling coalition will seek the European Central Bank’s opinion about a draft bill that would give government and parliament the power to name the Bank of Italy’s top officials, a prominent League lawmaker said on Friday.

The draft bill, obtained by Reuters, is likely to increase long-running tensions between the Bank of Italy and the government, made up of the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement and the right-wing League.

Alberto Bagnai, a League economist who heads the Senate Finance Commission and is behind the proposed reform, told Reuters that while the ECB opinion about such matters was not binding, the government would respect it.

“Not only we will scrupulously respect the formal procedure, but we will also hold any ECB recommendations in the highest regard,” he added.

The draft bill would end the current system under which appointments at the central bank are mainly made internally and the government only has the main say in naming the governor.

In addition, the bill says any modifications to the Bank of Italy’s statute must in future be decided by parliament while currently they can only be proposed by the assembly of the Bank of Italy’s shareholders.

Bagnai said that European rules required the government to seek the ECB’s view about such a reform.

He said he was confident the ECB would agree with the government that the independence of the Bank of Italy would not be threatened by the reform, which he said would align the Italian central bank to the Bundesbank’s governance model.

Reporting by Angelo Amante, editing by Silvia Aloisi

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