EU's Almunia to meet Italy minister, avoids comment on Monte Paschi
CERNOBBIO, Italy, Sept 6
CERNOBBIO, Italy, Sept 6 (Reuters) - European Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said on Friday he would meet Italy's economy minister to discuss various topics but he declined to comment directly about a state bailout for Monte dei Paschi di Siena which needs EU approval.
Almunia spoke to journalists at a business conference in the northern Italian town of Cernobbio where Economy Minister Fabrizio Saccomanni is also expected.
Asked whether he would meet Monte Paschi's chief executive on the sidelines of the conference, Almunia said instead that he would meet Saccomanni on Saturday.
"We will discuss several topics," he answered when pressed about whether the meeting would concern also the troubled lender.
Monte Paschi has received a 4.1 billion euro ($5.39 billion)state bailout. But the European Commission is demanding that Monte dei Paschi toughen up its restructuring plan before it approves the recent state aid.
Earlier on Friday, the Monte Paschi's CEO denied press reports of a meeting with Almunia in Cernobbio.
($1 = 0.7600 euros) (Reporting by Valentina Za and Luca Trogni, editing by James Mackenzie)
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