Open Europe Blog

Silvio Berlusconi yesterday stepped up his anti-austerity rhetoric another notch. During a quite heated exchange with Italian journalist Maurizio Belpietro on public broadcaster Rai Uno, Berlusconi made a new(ish) electoral pledge: renegotiate the European fiscal treaty.

Here is a translation of the most interesting bits (the full video, in Italian, is available here):

Belpietro: “There’s a fiscal treaty which has been signed and ratified by Italy too…”

Berlusconi (interrupts): “No, no, no. We need to go and negotiate with the European Commission. And [we need to] negotiate without getting down on our knees before the European authorities.”

[…]

Belpietro: “So would you overturn that agreement? Would you renegotiate it?”

Berlusconi: “Absolutely. Even at the cost of another vote [on the fiscal treaty] in the Italian parliament.”  

Given Il Cavaliere‘s notorious obsession with ‘the Communists’, it is perhaps slightly ironic that he is now basically using the same arguments as the Socialist François Hollande during last year’s French presidential campaign. As we stressed in previous blog posts, though, for the average Italian a promise to fight back EU-imposed austerity remains a powerful argument – and that is something which Berlusconi is well aware of.

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