Italian Finance Minister Vittorio Grilli praised the International Monetary Fund’s oversight of bailouts and welcomed a potential role for the institution in European Central Bank President Mario Draghi’s bond-buying plan.
“It’s only natural and understandable that if the IMF can and would continue to be involved, that would be a positive element,” Grilli said yesterday in an interview with Guy Johnson of Bloomberg Television in Cernobbio, Italy. “The way the euro zone has been working through these years has been through the involvement of the European institutions and the IMF. And I think that collaboration and the expertise put together has worked very well.”
Grilli and Prime Minister Mario Monti are cutting Italy’s budget deficit in an attempt to lower borrowing costs without the help of rescue funds from Europe. Draghi, who announced his support program Sept. 6, said he would seek the involvement of the IMF to set conditions and monitor compliance for any country that requests help from the ECB. Grilli reiterated Italy’s intention to solve the crisis without outside support.
“We’ve already said many times that we don’t have, today, the intention or a plan” to ask for any program, Grilli said.
Grilli and Monti are meeting with European leaders on the shores of Lake Como in Cernobbio at the Ambrosetti Forum, an annual meeting of bankers, business leaders and policy makers. European Union President Herman Van Rompuy and European Union Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn, are among those scheduled to make closed-door speeches at the gathering, which started yesterday and ends tomorrow.
Monti has been pushing the 17-nation euro area to broaden its collective response to the three-year debt crisis that forced Greece, Portugal and Ireland into bailouts. On Sept. 6, the Italian premier welcomed the ECB plan, which was designed to target government debt with maturities of one to three years on the secondary market, and said it was premature to comment on the details of the program.
“It’s up to the Italian government to decide,” European financial services chief Michel Barnier said in Cernobbio of the possibility of an aid request. “I am totally confident in Mario Monti.”
Monti, a former university president and EU commissioner, is moving closer to the end of his 17-month caretaker term and is pushing for measures to boost economic growth. Parliamentary elections must take place by April, and Italian President Giorgio Napolitano today called on politicians to cooperate and respect the government’s budget constraints.
“We hope, and for my part, trust, that there will be a constructive conclusion to the legislature,” Napolitano said.