BRUSSELS Jan 12 Euro zone finance ministers
will discuss on Jan. 26 the "compatibility" of Italy's bailout
for bank Monte dei Paschi di Siena with European Union
rules, an official in the bloc told Reuters on Thursday.
The comments cast doubt on the rescue plan for the ailing
bank, Italy's third largest lender. Rome decided in December to
salvage Monte dei Paschi after a plan to raise capital in the
The bank was the weakest among top euro zone banks in a
stress test ran last year by the European Central Bank.
"The Eurogroup will discuss the compatibility with EU rules
of the Italian plan to rescue banks," an EU official said after
a meeting of euro zone envoys in Brussels on Thursday.
The issue is on the preliminary agenda for the euro zone
finance ministers' meeting later this month, the official said.
Last month, the Italian government authorised a 20 billion
euro fund to help lenders in distress - first and foremost Monte
The plan uses an exception on new EU rules on banking
liquidation to avoid heavy losses for bank creditors before
public money is disbursed.
While it still awaits a green light from EU authorities, the
plan envisages only limited losses for the bank's creditors and
compensation to protect retailer investors.
After the rescue was announced, Germany, the euro zone's
largest economy, raised concerns about the plan's compliance
with EU rules.
(Reporting by Francesco Guarascio; editing by Ralph Boulton)