November 26, 2019 / 8:05 PM / 13 days ago

Italy won't need ESM help, alarm over reform unfounded - Gualtieri

ROME, Nov 26 (Reuters) - Economy Minister Roberto Gualtieri said on Tuesday Italy will not need help from the euro zone bailout fund, and alarm over the way it is being reformed is misplaced.

Speaking in a television interview with private channel La7, Gualtieri also said the Italian economy would grow this year by 0.2% or slightly more, above the government’s most recent official forecast of 0.1%.

The right-wing opposition League party and some economists say the reform of the bailout fund, known as the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) could make it more likely Italy will have to restructure its public debt.

Gualteri dismissed this.

“Italy is not and will not be a country that will need the ESM,” he said, adding that the fund will be “maintained substantially the same as it was before.”

Gualtieri, who will address parliament on the ESM reform on Wednesday, said he would “explain that the fears are unfounded.”

Reporting by Giuseppe Fonte, writing by Gavin Jones

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