(Adds European Commission comment, details)
MILAN Feb 22 Italy expects to clinch a deal
with European authorities over a state bailout of loss-making
bank Monte dei Paschi di Siena in a few weeks, top
Treasury official Fabrizio Pagani said on Wednesday.
Monte dei Paschi asked for state support last year after
failing to raise 5 billion euros ($5.3 billion) on the market to
shore up its capital. This will need to be approved by the
"Talks have just began. They are not more difficult than
anticipated and will require a few weeks," Pagani said on the
sidelines of a conference in Milan.
Pagani's optimism may be premature. The Commission typically
takes several months to clear banking cases because of the
Denying press reports at the weekend, Pagani said the
Commission had not asked for changes to the government decree
which detailed the bailout.
Commission spokesman Ricardo Cardoso said the EU state aid
regulator was reviewing the recapitalisation of the bank.
"The Commission is working with the Italian authorities and
the supervisory authorities to assess the compatibility of the
planned intervention by the Italian authorities with EU rules,"
Several Italian newspapers reported at the weekend that an
accord over Monte dei Paschi's bailout plan could take months
and that Brussels wanted Italy to amend the conditions of the
($1 = 0.9490 euros)
(Reporting by Giulio Piovaccari; Additional reporting by Foo
Yun Chee in Brussels; Writing by Francesca Landini; Editing by
Valentina Za and Mark Potter)