MILAN, May 27 (Reuters) - Italy's Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini said on Monday the Rome government should take a stake in a combined Fiat Chrysler- Renault group if necessary, given the importance of the car sector for the domestic economy.
Fiat Chrysler pitched a finely balanced merger of equals to Renault on Monday to tackle the costs of far-reaching technological and regulatory changes by creating the world's third-biggest automaker.
A prominent lawmaker for Salvini's League party said earlier on Monday the Italian government would defend national interests in a possible tie-up between the two groups and could ask for a stake to balance out the French state's holding.
France has a 15 percent stake in Renault, which would be reduced to around 7.5 percent under the proposed merger plan.
"It's a brilliant operation which I hope will be completed," Salvini told reporters.
Asked if Rome should take a stake in the merged group, he said: "If an Italian institutional presence were required, it would absolutely be our duty to grant it given that the auto sector is fundamental for economic growth in our country." (Reporting by Giuseppe Fonte, writing by Silvia Aloisi)