June 17, 2020 / 11:17 AM / 17 days ago

Italy's Gualtieri says ESM loan is advantageous, will be considered

ROME, June 17 (Reuters) - Italian Economy Minister Roberto Gualtieri said on Wednesday the government will consider applying for a loan from the euro zone bailout fund because it would allow cheaper financing than Italy can get on financial markets.

This issue of whether to use the so-called European Stability Mechanism (ESM) is politically sensitive in Italy, where it is opposed by the co-ruling 5-Star Movement which fears it will carry conditions that limit Rome’s fiscal autonomy.

Speaking by video-link at a conference in the northern city of Trento, Gualtieri, from the centre-left Democratic Party, said an ESM loan was “attractive” because it would carry virtually no interest and would thus save the country money.

“The government will consider all these instruments and as soon as negotiations are completed we will take the most appropriate decision,” he said. (Reporting by Giuseppe Fonte and Gavin Jones; editing by Angelo Amante)

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