CERNOBBIO, Italy (Reuters) - Italy's Treasury will cut its stake in bailed-out bank Monte dei Paschi di Siena (MPS) in its own time and won't be pressured, Economy Minister Giancarlo Giorgetti said on Sunday.
His remarks come after Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani said on Saturday Rome might accelerate the privatisation of MPS and make a proposal for the operation "in the short term."
Commitments agreed with European Union authorities at the time of MPS's 5.4 billion euro ($5.82 billion) bailout in 2017 bind Rome to eventually selling its 64% stake in the bank.
After a failed attempt to sell MPS to UniCredit in 2021, Italy agreed with Brussels a new deadline for the government to bring MPS back into private hands, but terms were never fully disclosed.
"We will resolve (the issue) quietly without being dictated to by anybody, let alone by haste," Giorgetti said, speaking at The European House-Ambrosetti economic forum.
Both Giorgetti and Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni said in recent months that the government would try to boost competition among banks with the privatisation of MPS.
This raises the prospect of a potential deal with Banco BPM or BPER Banca, Italy's third and fourth largest banks respectively, although both have repeatedly said they are not interested in MPS.
A government source told Reuters last week that Italy's Treasury remains open to reducing its stake in MPS through one or more share sales on the market, a move that would not hinder the search for strategic partners.
($1 = 0.9282 euros)
(Reporting by Giuseppe Fonte and Giselda Vagnoni in Rome, Giancarlo Navach in Cernobbio; Editing by Susan Fenton)