December 2, 2016 / 3:31 PM / 4 years ago

EU debated holding summit if Italian vote hits markets - sources

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - EU officials have debated calling an emergency summit of euro zone leaders after Sunday’s Italian referendum if a government defeat brings market turbulence, but key figures see no need for such a move, sources said on Friday.

Two sources with knowledge of discussions over the past days told Reuters some officials, particularly those who believe the 19 euro zone leaders should meet more often, had urged European Council President Donald Tusk to make plans for a Euro summit in case defeat for Prime Minister Matteo Renzi’s constitutional reforms puts the currency under market pressure.

One official said the referendum was causing “jitters” in Brussels, as it may weaken Italy’s ailing banking sector and affect the outcome of a 5-billion-euros ($5.3-billion) capital hike arranged by Banca Monte dei Paschi (BMPS.MI), the country’s third largest lender, to plug a capital shortfall.

However, those and other sources said, Tusk had rejected the argument and saw no reason to prepare for a summit.

Tusk declined to comment. Sources said the Council chief saw no reason to expect a major market reaction and doubted whether a special summit would help, even if there was one.

But if there was a strong request from national leaders in the euro zone, notably from the big powers Germany and France, then Tusk would be expected to organise a euro zone summit.

All 28 EU leaders are due to meet on Dec. 15, while euro zone finance ministers will hold a regular meeting in Brussels on Monday.

The last Euro summit of euro zone heads of state and government was on July 12 last year when leaders reached a deal on a third bailout for Greece.

Reporting by Francesco Guarascio; Editing by Janet Lawrence

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