The opinion, signed by ECB President Mario Draghi, asked the government to consult with the Bank of Italy if it planned to…
By Gavin Jones and Giuseppe Fonte
ROME — The European Central Bank on Tuesday gave a substantial green light to a bill by Italy’s ruling League party which seeks to spell out that gold reserves held by the Bank of Italy belong to the state, and not the bank itself.
The bill, tabled in February by the League’s economics chief, Claudio Borghi, was strongly criticized by the opposition who said its aim was to allow the ruling coalition to potentially sell the gold to fix Italy’s public finance problems.
Borghi denied this, saying he wanted to clarify the legal ownership of the gold, establish a question of principle and bring Italy’s situation in line with those of other EU states.
In an official opinion published on the ECB’s website, the bank said EU treaties do not use the concept of ownership with regard to official gold reserves but deal only with the question of their “exclusive holding and management.”
The opinion, signed by ECB President Mario Draghi, asked the government to consult with the Bank of Italy if it planned to push ahead with the legislation, in order that the central bank’s independence be “fully respected.” …
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