Tria Is Said to Be Likely Finance Chief in Italy Government

(Bloomberg) -- Italian economist Giovanni Tria is said to be the leading candidate for the role of finance minister in a possible new government formed by the populist Five Star Movement and League parties, three people familiar with the matter said Thursday.

The post of finance minister is a sticking point in Five Star and League attempts to form a government together, after President Sergio Mattarella vetoed euroskeptic economist Paolo Savona on Sunday.

Tria, 69, is currently the head of the Economy Faculty at Rome’s Tor Vergata University where he teaches Economic Policy. Tria’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

A senior League official said Savona will be likely picked for European Affairs minister.

Last year, Tria publicly called for a debate on the euro in both Italy and in the rest of Europe.

“People who call for unconditionally leaving the euro as a cure for all ills aren’t right, but neither is the European Central Bank President Mario Draghi when he says ‘the euro is irreversible,’ if he doesn’t clarify the conditions and the timing for the reforms which are necessary for its survival,” Tria wrote in a March 2017 article in newspaper Sole-24 Ore .

“Also because the biggest danger is implosion, not exit,” Tria said in the article co-written with Renato Brunetta, a senior lawmaker of ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia party. “Let’s talk about proposals and let’s find solutions agreed to by all the EU member states, to follow them together rather than using the ‘Brexit’ logic which says that when Europe doesn’t suit you or you don’t like it anymore, you abandon it.”

Rome-born Tria is also a member of the Innovation Strategy Expert Advisory Group at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development where Italy’s current Finance Minister Pier Carlo Padoan was chief economist between 2009 and 2014.

In the 2017 article on the outlook for the euro-region Tria also said that the "German economy’s growing surplus shows that monetary expansion, without a policy that aids economic convergence between the various countries, merely fuels an imbalance that puts us in conflict with the rest of the world.”

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