All euro zone states should bring their public debt below 60% of gross domestic product, via a long-term restructuring underwritten by the European Central Bank. This is according to a proposal tabled by Italy’s European Affairs Minister.

The proposal was made in a paper posted on the website of Paolo Savona’s ministry and sent to the European Commission.

As reported by the Reuters news agency, the 81-year-old economist proposed that the ECB should offer a “guarantee” in exchange for “a mortgage on future tax revenue or individual public assets in the event of non-repayment of one or more instalments”.

Savona, the coalition’s original pick as economy minister but vetoed by the head of state due to his critical opinion of the euro, has retained a role in economic policymaking He is involved in discussions over Italy’s 2019 budget, which is to be presented next month.

Italy’s public debt (around 132% of GDP) is the second highest in the EU after Greece. But this has not stopped the Italian populist coalition, which took office in Rome in June, to outline expansive spending plans for 2019 that would exceed the budget deficit targets set by the commission.

In Frankfurt, the ECB had no immediate comment on the proposal.