Italy cabinet nominates EU Minister Savona as Consob chief: sources

Italy cabinet nominates EU Minister Savona as Consob chief: sources

February 5, 2019

ROME (Reuters) – The Italian cabinet has nominated euro-sceptic EU Affairs Minister Paolo Savona as the next head of Consob, the country’s market watchdog, two government sources said on Tuesday.

The proposal will now be reviewed by a parliamentary commission and must ultimately be approved by President Sergio Mattarella, who last year refused to let the 82-year-old Savona become economy minister because of his anti-euro views.

However, a source in the president’s office told Reuters earlier on Tuesday that Mattarella would not object to Savona moving to Consob if his nomination overcame various legal hurdles that could yet derail his candidacy.

The government sources said Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte would take over the reins as EU minister on a temporary basis.

The top Consob job has been vacant since last September when the then-president, Mario Nava, resigned under pressure from the League and 5-Star because of his continued ties to the European Commission, where he had previously worked.

However, the two coalition parties have struggled to find a compromise candidate and Mattarella last week shot down a proposal that economist Marcello Minenna should take the post.

Newspapers have reported that Minenna, who is seen as close to 5-Star, is likely to become Consob secretary general.

A political source said Savona was frustrated by his role as EU Affairs Minister because it came with only a limited budget and had little effective power.

The opposition centre-left Democratic Party said they would challenge the choice, citing rules meant to prevent ministers from being allowed to take charge of public watchdogs and a separate regulation that imposes limits on the kind of jobs that people who are passed the retirement age can do.

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