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Italian PM says reviewing ECB mandate to guarantee public debt is an open dossier

Italian PM says reviewing ECB mandate to guarantee public debt is an open dossier
Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte arrives at a European Union leaders summit after European Parliament elections to discuss who should run the EU executive for the next five years, in Brussels, Belgium May 28, 2019. REUTERS/Piroschka van de Wouw   -   Copyright  PIROSCHKA VAN DE WOUW(Reuters)
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BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Italy sees the issue of reviewing the mandate of the European Central Bank so that it could guarantee public debt as an open dossier that requires a lot of work, the country’s Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said on Tuesday.

Italian Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini called on Tuesday for a new role for the European Central Bank, which should “guarantee” government debt in order to keep bond yields low.

Italy, whose debt is proportionally the highest in the euro zone after Greece’s, would have much to gain if the ECB were to buy states’ debt directly, though Salvini did not spell out exactly what he wanted the Frankfurt-based central bank to do.

Asked about Salvini’s proposal, Conte told reporters on entering an EU summit: “There are several open dossiers. Among them there is also that one. There is a lot of work to do.”

(Reporting By Francesco Guarascio, writing by Jan Strupczewski; editing by Philip Blenkinsop)

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