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Euro referendum not part of Italian government plans - deputy PM

FILE PHOTO: Italian Minister of Labour and Industry Luigi Di Maio speaks at the Italian Business Association Confcommercio meeting in Rome, Italy, June 7, 2018. REUTERS/Tony Gentile/File Photo

MILAN (Reuters) - A referendum on whether Italy should leave the euro currency is not in the governing coalition’s contract and will not be pursued, Deputy Prime Minister and leader of the 5-Star Movement Luigi Di Maio said in a published interview.

He spoke after 5-Star founder, Beppe Grillo, said this week that Italy should have a “plan B” to quit the euro zone if economic conditions dictated and that Italians should vote in a referendum to see if a majority wanted to quit the currency. His comments sent ripples through financial markets.

Grillo holds no post in the new ruling coalition in which the anti-establishment 5-Star governs with right wing League, yet his remarks may have raised new doubts about Italy’s intention to maintain the single currency.

Asked about a referendum in an interview published in Corriere della Sera on Sunday, Di Maio said it was something the government was “sensitive to”, but it was not part of the governing “contract” agreed between the 5-Star and the League.

“This government will not pursue it,” Di Maio told the Milan-based daily.

Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte and Economy Minister Giovanni Tria have both said the government has no intention of leading Italy out of the euro.

Reporting by Agnieszka Flak; Editing by Mark Heinrich