Proposed ECB guidelines on bad loans must not hurt economy: Tajani

European Parliament President Antonio Tajani speaks at the EU summit in Brussels, Belgium, June 22, 2017. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

ROME (Reuters) - European Parliament President Antonio Tajani on Friday joined a call to soften new European Central Bank requirements for banks to set aside additional capital to cover billions of euros in bad loans.

The Bank of Italy, the country’s banking association and Matteo Renzi, leader of the ruling party, on Thursday criticized the guidelines announced by the ECB this week on concern they would lead to further writedowns on soured loans.

“The necessary reduction of non-performing loans must come about in a balanced way so as not to worsen banks’ difficulties, and so that companies and economic growth are not damaged,” Tajani said at a conference in Rome.

Italian banks hold nearly 30 percent of the euro zone’s 915 billion euros ($1.07 trillion) of problematic debts.

Reporting by Giuseppe Fonte, writing by Steve Scherer; Editing by Isla Binnie