ROME, Sept. 16 (UPI) — Former Italian President Carlo Azeglio Ciampi, who led the way for Italy’s adoption of the euro, died Friday at 95.
Ciampi, an ardent supporter of the European Union and its common currency, spent most of his career at the Bank of Italy before entering politics, although without a political party.
After 14 years as the bank’s governor, he became premier; succeeding administrations chose him as finance minister and president, in light of his distance from day-to-day politics during a series of corruption scandals and a period of high inflation. In each position he championed the concept that Europe should act and work as a single entity in economic affairs, and with a single currency.
Tributes to Ciampi Friday prominently mentioned his record in World War II. An officer in Albania in Italy’s fascist-era army, he joined resistance forces in 1943.
Prime Minister Matteo Renzi honored Ciampi for “serving Italy with passion,” and former Premier Enrico Letta said that if “Italy is still a great country, the acknowledgement we owe Ciampi is enormous.”
Ciampi died in a Rome hospital Friday after a long illness. He is survived by his wife and two children.