BRUSSELS — New rules governing the rescue of imperiled banks in the 19-country eurozone that seek to protect taxpayers won’t be fudged, officials from the single currency bloc insisted Monday amid growing concern about some of Italy’s lenders.
Worries over the financial health of Italy’s banks have grown more acute since the June 23 referendum result in Britain and the country’s premier, Matteo Renzi, is looking for a way to rescue them from a pile of bad loans that aren’t being repaid.
Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the eurozone’s top official, conceded that Italy’s banks have problems with so-called non-performing loans, but that dealing with them through a fudge of newly created rules was not on the cards.
“It needs to be dealt with. It will have to be dealt with gradually,” he said at a meeting of the eurozone’s 19 finance ministers. “There will be no big solutions … It’s not an acute crisis so that also gives us some time to sort things out.”
Dijsselbloem said it’s important that the eurozone respects what it’s agreed “otherwise everything will be questioned in Europe, and there are a lot of questions in Europe already so we don’t need any more questions.”