(Bloomberg) -- The Italian parliament probably won’t discuss ratification of reforms to the European Union bailout fund this week, signaling further delays amid widespread political opposition in the euro zone’s third-largest economy.
“I don’t think we will discuss the European Stability Mechanism on Dec. 14,” Riccardo Molinari, leader of the League Party in the Lower House told Radio 24.
He added that although the discussion is on the calendar, there are more pressing issues to tackle first. “The League’s position is known, we think it’s an obsolete instrument but we are awaiting” Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni’s “indications on the matter,” he said.
The ESM bailout fund has been politically toxic in Italy for years, with successive governments unable to ratify reforms agreed to by the other euro-area states. Detractors argue that using it would increase the risk of a restructuring of the nation’s mammoth public debt.
Italian Finance Minister Giancarlo Giorgetti told his regional counterparts that the matter would be addressed by Italy’s parliament in the coming week, raising hopes that a ratification was finally possible.
The fund was set up in 2012 to help euro-area economies in exchange for strict reforms. Meloni has said in the past that Italy will never tap it, but the country’s European peers have asked her to approve the backstop even if she doesn’t plan to use it, to allow other countries to access the fund.
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