Italy’s Renzi: We have declared war on corruption

The Prime Minister of Italy, Matteo Renzi, declared new banking reforms are "anti-corruption" and for first time the country has an authority that is challenging the "traditional friendships" between bankers and politicians.

On Tuesday, the government approved an emergency decree that forces the largest cooperative banks to tighten their governance rules and become joint stock companies within the next year and a half.

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"There are two problems. The first is the perception of corruption and the presence of corruption. And the second is the traditional friendship between politicians, the leadership and managers. We declared war on corruption not with words but with effects. For the first time in Italy, there is an authority, anti-corruption..." Renzi told CNBC, speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

"The banks are absolutely central, but Italy doesn't save banks. It doesn't create opportunities for banks. We are the only one around Europe. This is very strange. Because today, the reaction is ah, the Italian system is not solid or strong in the bank system," he said.

The plan, pushed through by Renzi personally, will see some of Italy's largest banks including Banca Popolare, Banca Popolare di Milano and Ubi forced to reform their one-shareholder-one-vote governance.

"My government decided to take the first step, I called a former judge against Camorra and Mafia as leader of this authority. And this authority today after eight months of activities has invested a lot of power in initiatives against corruption in Milan, in Venice, in a lot of events," Renzi said.

"So the music is changed in Italy for corruption," he added.