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Report: Italy could use up to €20B to support banks

Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni said Dec. 19 that the government will seek parliamentary authorization to increase the level of national debt by as much as €20 billion, with Economy Minister Pier Carlo Padoan adding that the money could be used to "guarantee adequate liquidity" in the country's banking sector and to boost banks' capital, Reuters reported the same day.

The requested funds constitute more than 1 percentage point of GDP and will weigh on the country's 2017 finances, the news agency said, citing Padoan.

"The money put forward in this operation will have an impact on debt, but it should be seen as a one-off, temporary measure, that does not therefore impact on structural adjustments," Padoan reportedly said, adding that the operation would abide by EU rules.

La Repubblica reported Dec. 15 that the Italian Treasury is prepared to pump €15 billion into Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena SpA and other struggling banks, with another €80 billion in guarantees for future liquidity crises.