An Italian minister said on Friday the country should consider adopting its own currency again, adding fuel to recent talk of a possible break-up of the euro zone which EU leaders dismiss as "absurd."
Welfare Minister Roberto Maroni, from the euro-skeptical Northern League party, said Italy should hold a referendum on whether to revert to the lira currency it abandoned when 12 nations started to use euro notes and coins in 2002.
Analysts said Maroni's comments should be seen as populism typical of the Northern League. They do not represent the government as a whole and are not the harbinger of any dramatic political initiative.
While these comments can be dismissed as being outside of the mainstream, they are actually quite serious. Eventually one won't be able to dismiss it as absurd, and while a race to the door isn't likely, it's got to spook investors in a range of Euro denominated assets.