Da Financial Times del 11/11/2005
Originale su http://news.ft.com/cms/s/4e6bd75a-5227-11da-9ca0-0000779e2340.html

ECB opposes Italian central bank reforms

di Tony Barber

Rome - The Italian government's plans for modernising the national central bank were put in doubt on Thursday when the European Central Bank said it opposed some of the proposals and wanted them changed.

Lorenzo Bini Smaghi, an Italian representative on the ECB's executive board, said the government should, in particular, revise its proposals for changing the Bank of Italy's ownership structure because they would not guarantee the bank's financial independence.

Mr Bini Smaghi made his comments as the lower house of Italy's parliament prepared to give final approval to a bill that would introduce sweeping changes at the Bank of Italy, including a seven-year, non-renewable mandate for the bank's governor.

The changes were deemed necessary after Antonio Fazio, the governor since 1993, who serves an indefinite term, came under severe criticism for his conduct in a bank takeover battle this year.

He is currently under judicial investigation for suspected abuse of office.

If the government were to amend its plans for the Bank of Italy, the bill containing them would have to go back to the Senate, parliament's upper house, for approval by that chamber as well as by the lower house.

But this would delay the passage into law of various corporate governance re- forms that form the heart of the bill.

These are intended to prevent a repeat of the multi-billion-euro accounting fraud discovered in late 2003 at the Parmalat food group.

Yet if it leaves the bank plans unaltered, the government runs the risk that the ECB may take it to the European Court of Justice for not heeding its objections, Giuliano Amato, a former Italian prime minister, said on Thursday.

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