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'Fading' Europe faces QE risks: Italian business

Sinking Euro declining
Kvkrillov | Getty Images

With the European Central Bank (ECB) expected to launch a bond-buying program on Thursday, high-profile Italian business leaders have warned that it could involve risks and might not be enough to save the European "dream" from collapsing.

Although markets and business leaders are expecting the ECB to announce a quantitative easing (QE) program tomorrow, the size and scale of such a program is unknown. There is speculation that there could be a risk-sharing factor added to any QE program, with national central banks also expected to share some of the strain of buying government bonds with the ECB.

Carlo Messina, Intesa's chief executive, told CNBC Wednesday that risk-sharing was "not a good idea" but that some kind of stimulus program was needed in order for the euro zone to recover.

"The real point is about sharing risk," he said.

"If they decide not to share the risk that will be very good news for markets and the amount (of any QE package the ECB announces) could be around 500 - 600 billion euros ($578 billion) but the amount is not important,"

"It is very important that we come out of this crisis and that we recover in the whole of Europe, otherwise every country will pay the price of a lack of recovery," he added.

European dream 'fading'

While Messina was concerned about the finer details of ECB QE, another Italian business leader feared ECB stimulus alone was not enough to save the European "dream" of political and economic unity.

"The European project is fading away as it is and either you need to relaunch it, and I strongly support that – it's a great idea, it's a dream – but now it needs a further push," Mario Greco, chief executive of Italy's largest insurer Generali, told CNBC Tuesday.

"That further push has to be given by politicians and by institutions,companies can't do it. If they miss doing it the risk is that people will become more and more discouraged about this big dream which is never developed as it should (be)." and the dream won't be developed as it should."

Speaking to CNBC on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Greco warned that ECB action alone was not enough.

"What we need in Europe is political reforms, structural reforms. The ECB is feeding the European economy with liquidity and trust and it's giving guidance, but if the political system and society don't follow that whatever the ECB does is going to be useless. Buying bonds is not enough, for sure," he said.

Europe needed structural and political reforms, he said,that could only be delivered at a national level.

"We need to follow through with political reforms, we need a different vision of what Europe is and I don't think the way Europe is at the moment can withstand the challenges of the future," Greco said.