Berlusconi defends central bank powers

ITALY - Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi Friday threw his weight behind the Bank of Italy after a group of lawmakers proposed to strip the central bank of banking surveillance powers as part of a wider reform involving a number of regulatory bodies.

The government's regulatory reform, which is currently under study, "will not include any provision or hypothesis related to the Bank of Italy's brief," the prime minister's office said in a statement.

A parliamentary commission Thursday presented a