Skip to Content

Mario Draghi. Photo: Flickr
Rome

‘Gold belongs to the Italian people, not bankers’

Italian Deputy Premier and Interior Minister Matteo Salvini said in February that the Bank of Italy's gold reserves are "the property of the Italian people, not of anyone else".

Published: April 8, 2019, 8:22 am

    Read more

    The Italian government was considering using the central bank’s gold to avert a rise in value-added tax that was scheduled to kick in unless alternative sources of budget coverage can be found.

    Mario Draghi, president of the European Central Bank and a former governor of the Bank of Italy, earlier issued an surprising statement confirming that the European Central Bank needs to approve any operation in the foreign reserves of euro zone countries, including gold and large foreign currency holdings.

    “The ECB shall approve both the operations in foreign reserve assets remaining with the NCBs (national central banks)…and Member States’ transactions with their foreign exchange working balances above a certain threshold,” Draghi told two Italian members of the European Parliament.

    “The purpose of this competence is to ensure consistency with the exchange rate and monetary policy of the Union.”

    The peculiar timing of his statement drew attention, but no context was provided. The Wall Street Journal has shed light on Draghi’s comments however, warning that Italy’s coalition government will be pushing ahead this week with efforts to seize control of the central bank and its gold reserves.

    Hundreds of thousands of small individual investors lost billions of dollars after several Italian banks failed during the banking crisis, both the anti-establishment 5 Star Movement and Salvini’s League believe the central bank is out of touch with the needs of ordinary Italians.

    “We need a change of course at the Bank of Italy if we think about what happened in the last years,” Deputy Prime Minister Luigi Di Maio, leader of the 5 Star Movement, said recently.

    Five Star and the League maintain that the Bank of Italy did nothing to prevent the banking crises, and blamed it for the losses suffered by small savers who had bought bank shares and bonds.

    “If you are here with your current account in the red, it’s because the people who were supposed to control things didn’t do so,” Salvini, told a group of former investors in Banca Popolare di Vicenza, which was liquidated in 2017.

    Italian lawmakers from MS5 this week demanded that Parliament pass two draft laws on the matter. One of the laws would instruct the central bank’s owners, most of them private banks, to sell their shares to the Italian Treasury at prices from the 1930s.

    The other would declare the Italian people to be the owners of the Bank of Italy’s reserve of 2451.8 metric tons of gold, worth around $102 billion at current rates.

    “The gold belongs to the Italians, not to the bankers,” said Giorgia Meloni, leader of the Brothers of Italy, an opposition party that supports both bills. “We are ready to battle everywhere in Italy and to bring Italians to the streets if necessary.”

    But central bankers have expressed alarm at the draft laws. “Gold is part of the assets of the Bank of Italy and can’t be used for monetary financing of the Treasury,” said Bank of Italy Governor Ignazio Visco.

    “This looks like revolutionary expropriation,” said Gianluca Garbi, chief executive of Banca Sistema SpA.

    The Wall Street Journal highlighted that together the 5 Star Movement and the League – who both support public ownership of the gold reserves – have the backing of 60 percent of lawmakers, more than enough support to pass.

    Lawmakers from MS5 even support nationalising the central bank, while the League hasn’t decided yet, leaving the bill short of a majority with around 40 percent support.

    Last week a parliamentary commission was set up to look into the failure of Italian banks, launching what could be months of tense scrutiny.

    The Italian central bank holds 90.8 billion euros in gold, making it the fourth-largest reserve in the world, reportedly consisting of ingots and coins held in Italy as well as in the UK, US and Switzerland.

    Tensions between the bank and government following comments from both Five Star Movement Leader Luigi di Maio and Salvini, have been simmering especially after Salvini said the central bank and Consob, the country’s stock market regulator, should be “reduced to zero.”

    Last year, Draghi warned that the independence of central banks was threatened by “populist” governments, but made no a direct reference to Italy.

    Consider donating to support our work

    Help us to produce more articles like this. FreeWestMedia is depending on donations from our readers to keep going. With your help, we expose the mainstream fake news agenda.

    Keep ​your language polite​. Readers from many different countries visit and contribute to Free West Media and we must therefore obey the rules in​,​ for example​, ​Germany. Illegal content will be deleted.

    If you have been approved to post comments without preview from FWM, you are responsible for violation​s​ of​ any​ law. This means that FWM may be forced to cooperate with authorities in a possible crime investigation.

    If your comments are subject to preview ​by FWM, please be patient. We continually review comments but depending on the time of day it can take up to several hours before your comment is reviewed.

    We reserve the right to del​ete​ comments that are offensive, contain slander or foul language, or are irrelevant to the discussion.

    Europe

    German secret service brand Corona critics ‘enemies of the state’

    BerlinAccording to the President of the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, which is the domestic spy agency, demonstrators in the Corona protests can no longer be clearly assigned to right-wing or left-wing extremism since they all "fundamentally reject the democratic state". The pandemic is only an excuse for rising up against the state, it claimed.

    Spain’s secret service alleged to have carried out Barcelona terror attacks

    MadridThe terrorist attacks in Barcelona and Cambrils in August 2017 were planned and executed by the country’s secret service, a former senior officer in Spain’s National Police Corps maintain.

    Life insurer refuses to cover vaccine death

    ParisAn explosive case is currently being hotly debated on social media: In France, a rich, older entrepreneur from Paris is said to have died as a result of a Corona injection. Previously, he had taken out multi-million dollar life insurance policies for the benefit of his children and grandchildren, according to a media report.

    Compulsory vaccination postponed in Austria and Germany due to ‘technical problems’

    ViennaIn February and March, respectively, both Germany and Austria would have introduced compulsory vaccination against Covid-19, something that has met with massive protests. In step with the growing resistance among the populations in both countries, signals from leading politicians are now coming that what is called the "vaccination obligation" will not be introduced in February and March. Technical problems and unsustainable time planning are said to be reasons for the coercive measures being postponed.

    Germany: New record set for Monday walks against forced vaccination

    LeipzigWith 1 568 walks and demonstrations, more places in Germany took part in the Monday demonstrations than ever before. A week ago it was around 1500. And particularly noteworthy: More and more people who have been vaccinated are mingling with the critics of the measure.

    Reiner Füllmich and 50 lawyers: ‘The vaccines are designed to kill and depopulate the planet’

    Swedish journalist Jesper Johansson from Perspektiv speaks to Dr Reiner Füllmich on the coming court case against the architects of the plandemic.

    New Year’s Gift from the Spanish Government: The National Security Act

    MadridThe Spanish government has given the people a New Year's present that could hardly be more totalitarian: On December 31, 2021, the socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez and his colleagues published the Royal Decree (1150/2021) on the National Security Strategy. It has been in force since January 1, 2022.

    Germany’s priorities are a Queer Commissioner and female crash test dummies

    BerlinHow did Germany manage to exist for more than 70 years without a queer commissioner? Many may be forgiven for not having pondered this question, especially during a pandemic which has decimated the civil rights of a third of the population.

    Austria demotes some 3,8 million double-jabbed to ‘unvaccinated’

    ViennaThe Austrian government announced today that the validity of the “Green Passport” has been reduced to six months. This also means that all people who have had their “full vaccination” for the last six months will be relegated to an inferior civil status and become "unvaccinated".

    Macron lobs a grenade at the French, which social media explodes in his face

    ParisIt was both astounding and to be expected: the President of the Republic, in an interview with a French daily, lobbed a grenade at all French citizens, not just the unvaccinated.

    Go to archive