Italian Finance Minister Giovanni Tria. Photo: AFP/Alberto Pizzoli
Italian Finance Minister Giovanni Tria. Photo: AFP/Alberto Pizzoli

The choice of Giovanni Tria to be Italy’s new finance minister prompted widespread speculation on exactly how he feels about the prospect of Italy leaving the euro zone.

His selection was part of a compromise after the Italian political establishment blocked the staunchly Euroskeptic Paolo Savona from assuming the finance minister position.

Confusion regarding Tria’s position was understandable, considering his vague statements on the issue in the past.

“Those who evoke leaving the euro without ifs and buts as a panacea for all out ills are not right,” said Tria, who is dean of the economics faculty of Rome’s Tor Vergata University. But he added that those who say the euro is irreversible are not right either.

On Friday Tria attempted to clarify his position, saying “I have never said that we should leave the euro,” as quoted by Reuters. “In Europe there is a discussion on the reforms that are needed and this discussion is also taking place in Italy.”

He went as far as to say that “there is no political force in Italy that wants to leave the euro.”

An illustration on the cover of this weeks issue of Der Spiegel reads “Bye love! Italy destroys itself and tears apart Europe with it”

German weekly Der Spiegel was skeptical that Tria would represent any material difference from the rejected Savona, writing, in summary:

“The economist Giovanni Tria is to become the new Italian super-minister for economics and finance. With the appointment of the professor without political experience, the boss of the right-wing league, Matteo Salvini, has managed a coup.

“Tria’s view of German supremacy in Europe is less extreme – but basically similar to the previously rejected for the post Paolo Savona.”