Rome, February 16 - The government's decree to support Italy's troubled bank sector won definitive approval in the Lower House on Thursday. The decree was approved with 246 votes in favour, 147 against and 22 abstentions. The decree creates a 20-billion-euro fund to enable the State to help banks that have liquidity problems or may need a precautionary recapitalization, such as Monte dei Paschi di Siena, which risked going out of business when an attempted five-billion-euro capital increase failed last year. "It's a step forward to guarantee more economic security to families and firms," said Premier Paolo Gentiloni. The bill was criticised, among other things, for failing to create a 'black list' of major creditors who contribute to putting banks into difficulty. Instead, there will be "risk profiles" of subjects who received loans of over 1% of the capital of the banks that request public support. Ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi's Forza Italia party described the decree as "unfair, confused and impossible to apply" adding that "it throws away Italian people's money".
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