Italian Minister Calls for Lira’s Return

Italy’s labor minister wants to dump the Euro in favor of the lira to help get the country out of its financial woes.

Italian Minister Calls for Lira’s Return (AP)

Italy’s labor minister called for a referendum to see if Italians want to temporarily bring back the lira after widespread popular discontent over high prices that many blame on the introduction of the euro. The idea was promptly dismissed Friday by both the European Commission and leaders of Italy’s governing coalition, and currency markets shrugged off the news. “The euro is here to stay,” retorted EU Commission spokeswoman Amelia Torres in Brussels.

Labor Minister Roberto Maroni’s proposal Thursday is a “bizarre idea and against national interest,” said Marco Follini, leader of one of the centrist parties in Premier Silvio Berlusconi’s coalition. “It would cancel in one blow the enormous advantages that our country gained in economic and financial stability, as so many Italians, who have benefited and are benefiting from lower interest rates,” well know, the ANSA news agency quoted Follini as saying.

Agreed. Italy has long had one of the worst economies in Western Europe and was always a problem in the various currency agreements, such as the Exchange Rate Mechanism, that the EEC/EU had in the years before they adopted the Euro. While I’ve long been a Euroskeptic, the idea of a European free trade zone has always made sense and a common currency is just a logical extension of that.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.