Italian Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini is set to pick Lorenzo Fontana, a veteran European lawmaker, as Italy’s new minister for European affairs, according to three League officials who declined to be named discussing a confidential issue.
It’s a surprise move that would sideline Alberto Bagnai, a leading critic of the single currency who has roiled financial markets with his attacks on Brussels.
The decision could come as soon as Thursday when the cabinet meets.
Both candidates are members of Salvini’s anti-immigration League party.
Fontana, 39, is currently minister for families and the disabled.
He served as a member of the European Parliament from 2009 to 2018, and is a former deputy-speaker of the lower house of parliament in Rome and deputy-mayor of Verona.
Like Bagnai, Fontana has criticised the euro, calling it a hybrid currency which gives certain euro zone members an unfair advantage while penalising Italy.
He is, however, in favor of keeping Italy in the euro, in line with the policy of the ruling coalition.