Competition Commissioner Mario Monti has decided to stay in Brussels and turned down an offer from the Italian government to fill in the post of finance minister.
Speaking at the center-right European People's Party meeting in Budapest, Mario Monti ended days of speculation as to whether he would accept the post, by saying he preferred to continue his commitment at the European level. "[It] was a very challenging and attractive proposal. But I explained to the prime minister the reasons, which he fully understood and respected, why my preference is, if possible, for a continued commitment at the European level," Monti said. Following Finance Minister Giulio Tremonti's resignation on Friday, Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi had asked Mario Monti, currently in his second term as Commissioner, to return to Rome and take his post. Berlusconi has taken up the tasks himself for an interim period, but he is facing pressure from the other parties in the governing coalition to immediately choose Tremonti's successor. ( EUobserver.com)