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EU's Almunia to discuss Monte Paschi bailout with Italian minister: source

European Union Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia gestures during a joint news conference with European Union Commissioner for Interna
European Union Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia gestures during a joint news conference with European Union Commissioner for Interna

CERNOBBIO, Italy (Reuters) - European Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia will discuss a state bailout of Italian bank Monte dei Paschi di Siena, which requires EU approval, at a meeting with Italy's economy minister on Saturday, a source close to the matter said.

"It is in the nature of things that they should talk about Monte Paschi," the source, who declined to be named, said on Friday.

Earlier on Friday, Almunia had said he would meet the minister, Fabrizio Saccomanni, on Saturday to discuss various topics, but avoided a direct comment when asked about whether they would talk about Monte dei Paschi .

Monte Paschi received a 4.1 billion euro ($5.4 billion) state bailout earlier this year to plug a capital shortfall. But the European Commission is demanding it toughens up its restructuring plan before it approves the state aid.

Almunia spoke to journalists at a three-day business conference in the northern Italian town of Cernobbio, where Saccomanni is also expected to arrive.

Monte Paschi's Chief Executive Fabrizio Viola was also at the Cernobbio conference. Earlier on Friday, Viola denied press reports of a meeting with Almunia there.

($1 = 0.7600 euros)

(Reporting by Luca Trogni and Valentina Za; Editing by James Mackenzie and Anthony Barker)

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