The news doesn’t surprise us. Or does it? In any case, a government official from Italy has suggested the formerly unthinkable in the wake of the French and Dutch rejection of the European constitution, namely: leaving the euro.
Italian Welfare Minister Roberto Maroni said his country should consider leaving the euro and return to the lira, Reuters reports today. Originally speaking to the newspaper La Repubblica, and later Reuters, Maroni said that the euro “has proved inadequate in the face of the economic slowdown, the loss of competitiveness and the job crisis.” The solution? “Give control over the exchange rate back to the government.”
Maroni, of course, is just one man and with limited influence. But Italy’s in a recession, and doubts are spreading on the Continent about the benefits of economic integration. It’s a safe assumption that others in Europe think like Maroni. It remains to be seen how many euro skeptics will go public. But rest assured, where there’s smoke, fire usually follows. Whether it burns down the euro house completely, or merely scorches it, is the question.