Italian minister quits Eurosceptic Cabinet

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The Independent Online

The Italian Foreign Minister, Renato Ruggiero, has resigned after his pro-European stance made him increasingly isolated within the government of Silvio Berlusconi. A communique from the Prime Minister's Office said the decision was mutual.

In an interview Thursday, Mr Ruggiero said he was saddened by the Eurosceptic positions in Cabinet. Rather than praising the birth of the euro, the Treasury Minister said it was "only for faith healers, miracle makers and bankers", and the Minister for Reform said he "couldn't care less about the euro as it has been imposed from above".

Italy has long been a staunch supporter of European integration, yet under Mr Berlusconi's right-wing coalition, it is suddenly attempting to assert its sovereignty.

It tried to block the Europe-wide arrest warrant, has backed out of the Airbus European fighter contract and recently vetoed a list of sites for new EU institutions.