Italy’s debt problem not related to ESM issue – minister

ROME (Reuters) – Italy must focus on its debt problem and a parliament decision not to ratify the reform of the euro zone bailout fund has no impact on it, Economy Minister Giancarlo Giorgetti said on Wednesday.

Italy’s lower house of parliament last week voted against a long-awaited reform of the euro zone bailout fund, the European Stability Mechanism (ESM), throwing into doubt ratification of a European Union treaty that is designed to provide help for failing banks.

“The ESM is neither the cause nor the solution to our problem, our problem is called debt,” he told a parliamentary committee. “We must focus on the fact that this debt, when it costs, and it is onerous, must be kept under control otherwise this country will not make it.”

He later added that he believed the Italian banking system was the most solid in Europe.

(Reporting by Angelo Amante, editing by Agnieszka Flak)