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Europe pays tribute to 'father of the euro' Padoa-Schioppa

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Europe pays tribute to 'father of the euro' Padoa-Schioppa

Tommaso Padoa-Schioppa - Photo EU Council

(ATHENS) - European leaders on Sunday paid tribute to Italy's former economy minister Tommaso Padoa-Schioppa, a founding father of the euro who had been acting as adviser to the Greek government.

Padoa-Schioppa was dining with friends in a palace in the centre of Rome late Saturday when he collapsed with heart failure and died in hospital shortly afterwards. He was 70.

Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou said Padoa-Schioppa "wanted in a difficult period for Greece to show his solidarity".

The premier added in a statement that the Italian was one of the first who believed in Greece's recovery from bankruptcy earlier this year.

"In this effort, he was a real Greek," he added.

"He knew that the crisis that began in Greece had European dimensions and contributed to the proposals Greece made at the last European summit to deal with a general economic crisis," Papandreou said.

European Council President Herman van Rompuy praised the economist as "a driving force in the integration of Europe and the creation of the euro", the Belgian said in a statement.

Jose Manuel Barroso, the president of the European Commission, said Padoa-Schioppa was "a great European who was one of the fathers of the euro".

He was "an expert and cultivated economist who in his role as member of the European Central Bank Executive Board contributed, with professionalism and dedication and in a decisive manner, for the euro to become a reality," Barroso said in a separate statement.

Since mid-2010 the eminent Italian economist had been advising the Greek government headed by Papandreou on how to escape the euro crisis. He recently became a member of Italian automaker Fiat's board of governors.

After being a director of the European Central Bank from 1998 to 2005, he became Italian minister of economy and finance from 2006 to 2008 under the centre-left government of Romano Prodi.

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