Thursday

29th Sep 2022

Italy proposes 'semi-automatic' funding to avert bail-out

  • Italy's 10-year bond has climbed to 6.06 percent (Photo: Giampaolo Macorig)

Debt-stricken Italy is pushing for a "semi-automatic mechanism" to lower eurozone countries' borrowing costs compared to Germany in a veiled admission that it is also heading for a bail-out.

"The idea is to possibly discuss at the Eurogroup/Ecofin this week mechanisms which would be triggered semi-automatically when spreads widen too much, with the aim to reduce them," Italy's EU affairs minister Enzo Moavero told reporters in Brussels on Monday (18 June).

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

He said the idea was on the table for talks among eurozone finance ministers (the Eurogroup) on Thursday in Luxembourg.

Amid continued uncertainty about Greece and bleeding banks in Spain, Italy has also seen its borrowing costs soar. Its 10-year bond has climbed to 6.06 percent on Monday, while Germany's bunds are trading at record low rates.

Meanwhile, Spanish 10-year bonds are being sold at even higher interest rates - almost 7.3 percent - above the seven-percent threshold that pushed Ireland, Portugal and Greece to ask for state bail-outs.

The European Central Bank (ECB) last year helped out Spain and Italy by buying their bonds and later by injecting €1 trillion in cheap loans to banks, which to a large extent used the money to also buy government bonds.

Both actions were reluctantly agreed by Germany's central bank, which fears an inflation boom and is sceptical that the "quick fixes" will work in the long term.

Having a "semi-automatic" ECB mechanism would most likely be against the no direct bail-out clause for governments enshrined in the ECB mandate.

The other option - having the yet-to-be-set-up European Stability Mechanism (ESM) intervene automatically to help out governments under market pressure is also tricky, since any disbursements have to be approved by the German parliament.

But at the same time concerns are growing that if the crisis spreads to Italy and Spain - two core EU economies - neither the eurozone's ESM "firewall" nor the recently augmented International Monetary Fund will be big enough to bail them out.

According to Bank of America, Spain may need a second, full-blown bail-out on top of the €100 billion recently earmarked for its banks. This would push the total loan to €450 billion. Italy would need even more, as it has €1.2 trillion in outstanding debt.

Emerging economies such as China, Brazil and Russia have agreed to boost their contributions to the IMF warchest, although with more modest sums than initially envisaged.

A total of €340 billion in fresh money has been committed, almost half of which comes from the eurozone countries themselves. The US, the main IMF contributor, has refused to pay any extra money.

Italy denies need for bail-out

Italy's Mario Monti has said his country does not need a bail-out, even though its borrowing costs have soared amid contagion from Spain.

Spanish and Italian borrowing costs soar

The cost of insurance against a Spanish default reached another record on Monday, with Italy's borrowing costs also rising sharply amid market fears about the eurozone.

Merkel under pressure to move on Spain and Italy

With borrowing costs in Spain and Italy at unprecedented highs, Germany's Angela Merkel came under pressure at the G20 summit to let eurozone bail-out funds help them out.

News in Brief

  1. EU takes Malta to court over golden passports
  2. EU to ban Russian products worth €7bn a year more
  3. Denmark: CIA did not warn of Nord Stream attack
  4. Drone sightings in the North Sea 'occurred over months'
  5. Gazprom threatens to cut gas deliveries to Europe via Ukraine
  6. New compromise over EU energy emergency measures
  7. 15 states push for EU-wide gas price cap
  8. EU: Nord Stream explosions 'result of a deliberate act'

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. The European Association for Storage of EnergyRegister for the Energy Storage Global Conference, held in Brussels on 11-13 Oct.
  2. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBA lot more needs to be done to better protect construction workers from asbestos
  3. European Committee of the RegionsThe 20th edition of EURegionsWeek is ready to take off. Save your spot in Brussels.
  4. UNESDA - Soft Drinks EuropeCall for EU action – SMEs in the beverage industry call for fairer access to recycled material
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic prime ministers: “We will deepen co-operation on defence”
  6. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBConstruction workers can check wages and working conditions in 36 countries

Latest News

  1. Everything you need to know about the EU gas price cap plan
  2. Why northeast Italy traded in League for Brothers of Italy
  3. How US tech giants play EU states off against each other
  4. Deregulation of new GMO crops: science or business?
  5. The European shipping giants plying Putin's fossil-fuels trade
  6. Russian ideologue and caviar on latest EU blacklist
  7. Netherlands tops EU social safety net for the poor
  8. New EU rules to make companies liable for their AI failures

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us