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ECB’s Panetta seen defying calls to be Italian finance minister

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Economy 23 minutes ago (Sep 20, 2022 02: 46PM ET)

ECB's Panetta defying calls to be Italian finance minister, sources say Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Fabio Panetta, director of international and European relations at the European Central Bank, attends the award ceremony for the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany at Bellevue Palace in Berlin, Germany, January 31, 2020. REUTERS

By Giuseppe Fonte and Giselda Vagnoni

ROME (Reuters) -ECB board member Fabio Panetta is resisting calls from Giorgia Meloni, the front-runner to be Italy’s next prime minister, to take the work of economy minister if the rightist bloc win election on Sunday, two political sources told Reuters.

Meloni, the first choice of the Brothers of Italy party, wants Panetta to displace Daniele Franco at the helm of the Italian Treasury, but Panetta has managed to get clear he could be not thinking about the role, the sources said.

The central banker would instead choose the job of Bank of Italy governor, they added, asking never to be named because of the sensitivity of the problem.

Panetta, 63, is really a veteran greater than three decades at Italy’s central bank and contains sat on the Executive Board of the European Central Bank (ECB) because the start of 2020.

The mandate of Ignazio Visco, who’s 72 and contains been leading the lender of Italy since 2011, is because of result in October of next year.

A third, separate source near to the matter confirmed Panetta was the best candidate to displace Visco.

The federal government plays an integral role in the appointment of the top of Bank of Italy, under an elaborate procedure which also requires consultation with the central bank’s main internal body, referred to as its “Superior Council”.

A spokesperson for the ECB said: “Mr Panetta declined to comment.”

Meloni’s office had not been designed for comment.

The brand new economy minister will need to help Italy deal with a worsening economic outlook because of the energy crisis exacerbated by the Ukraine war, and rising charges for a great many other goods.

The ECB raised its key interest levels by an unprecedented 75 basis points this month and promised further hikes, prioritising the fight inflation and complicating Italy’s efforts to head off the risk of recession and reduce public debt.

Meloni said on Tuesday in a television interview that it had been not enough time to speak about ministerial jobs.

She had already declined to answer over a possible role in another conservative government for Panetta within an interview with Reuters on Aug. 25, but in those days added Panetta was an individual “of the best standing”.

League leader Matteo Salvini, an ally of Meloni in the rightist bloc, voiced his opposition to the chance of giving technocrats key jobs, like the economy ministry, in virtually any new government.

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