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Financials

Italy's Padoan calls for tighter euro zone integration -FT

MILAN, July 26 (Reuters) - The euro zone needs deeper integration to remove the risk of a member country leaving the single currency, Italian Economy Minister Pier Carlo Padoan told the Financial Times in an interview on Sunday.

The Greek crisis has called into question the future of the currency bloc as a third bailout of the heavily indebted country narrowly avoided the risk of Athens crashing out of the euro.

“The exit and therefore the end of irreversibility is now an option on the table. Let’s not fool ourselves,” Padoan said in the interview posted on the newspaper’s website.

“Some believe that the way it works is more or less fine with minor adjustments. I think this is not enough,” he said.

Padoan’s comments came days after a report in German magazine Der Spiegel that Germany was willing to discuss the creation of a euro zone finance minister who would have his own budget and the power to raise extra taxes.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker last month laid out a vision for tighter joint control over the currency zone’s economies, including an eventual common euro zone treasury.

Italy has long advocated tighter economic and political integration in the currency bloc.

To strengthen the single currency, Italy wants a wide set of measures including the swift completion of banking union, the establishment of a common euro zone budget and a common unemployment insurance scheme. (Reporting by Valentina Za; editing by Philip Pullella and David Evans)

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