BRUSSELS Dec 20 Prime Minister Enrico Letta
pledged on Friday to protect investment in Italy's
telecommunications network but said the government took no side
in a dispute over the role of Telecom Italia's main
shareholder, Spanish group Telefonica.
"Telecom Italia is a private company. There are market rules
which have to be respected. The market is open to international
and foreign investors," he told reporters.
"The network is a strategic asset for the country, even if
it's privately held," he said, adding that the government was
"absolutely committed to guaranteeing the maximum level of
He rejected a proposal from a senator in his own centre-left
Democratic Party to change the threshold at which an investor is
obliged to make a full takeover offer, generally seen as a means
of making it more difficult for Telefonica to acquire full
control of Telecom Italia.
"The government does not support any player on the field. I
don't think parliament should pass laws which helps one
particular player against another," he said.