UPDATE 1-EU makes progress on Monte Paschi rescue plan- Vestager
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By Francesco Guarascio
BRUSSELS, March 8 (Reuters) - The European Commission hinted at possible progress in its assessment of a rescue plan for Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena on Wednesday, after receiving information on the bank's capital needs.
The EU Commission and the European Central Bank have held weeks of inconclusive negotiations over Monte Paschi's rescue plan, which can only go ahead with their approval.
Italy's Monte dei Paschi, the world's oldest bank, asked for state support in December after failing to raise 5 billion euros ($5.3 billion) on the market to shore up its capital. Since then, the European Commission and the ECB have been discussing the way forward among them and with the bank.
"For us, it has been very important to make sure we have the right basis to work from," EU competition chief Margrethe Vestager told a news conference in Brussels in reply to a question on Monte Paschi.
"We need the supervisor to tell us the fundamentals about the banking questions," she said in reference to the ECB's assessment of the bank's capital needs carried out through the ECB's Single Supervisory Mechanism (SSM).
The bank's capital needs were estimated by the ECB in December at 8.8 billion euros, which will include a significant amount of taxpayers' money. Vestager did not give information about the bank's final capital needs or the time needed to conclude its assessment but said the SSM had provided the necessary information.
"Now the Single Supervisor Mechanism has answered our questions, which will allow us to move forward," Vestager said. It remains unclear whether the two institutions have reached a definitive compromise on the plan. Continua...