Silvio Berlusconi, is he the worst head of state? - U2 Feedback

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Old 07-02-2003, 06:29 PM   #1
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Silvio Berlusconi, is he the worst head of state?

i have been hearing about this guy for months.

I was corresponding with an Italian mucician last year that would rant on and on about Silvio Berlusconi.





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MEPs' fury at Berlusconi's Nazi jibe

Agencies
Wednesday July 2, 2003


Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi at the European parliament in Strasbourg. Photograph: AP

The controversial Italian prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, today assumed the EU council presidency, and immediately provoked furious controversy saying a German MEP should take a film role as a Nazi concentration camp leader.
Mr Berlusconi was giving a speech inaugurating his country's six-month presidency of the EU to assembled MEPs, but his plans for Italy's tenure of the union were completely overshadowed by a comment made to a German socialist MEP, Martin Schulz, in the subsequent question-and-answer session. In response to a question from Mr Schulz alleging a conflict of interest between his political office and his extensive Italian media interests, Mr Berlusconi replied:

"Mr Schulz, I know there is in Italy a man producing a film on the Nazi concentration camps. I would like to suggest you for the role of leader. You'd be perfect."

MEPs responded to the jibe with jeers and shouts, thumping their desks in dismay and leaving the Strasbourg chamber in disarray for several moments.

Mr Berlusconi then refused to withdraw the remark when given the opportunity by Pat Cox, the parliament's president. Mr Cox expressed regret at the offence caused to Mr Schulz and said he believed it would be appropriate "to correct the record in this regard".

Mr Schultz responded by saying: "My respect for the victims of fascism will not permit me to deal with that kind of claim at all.

"It is very difficult for me to accept that a council president [Mr Berlusconi] should be exercising this office at all when he comes out with this kind of statement."

Mr Berlusconi then attempted to play down the incident, saying his remark had been "ironic" and accusing Mr Schulz of being offensive: "He was gesticulating and he used a tone of voice which is not acceptable in a parliament," he said.

During the debate after his speech, critical MEPs had repeatedly questioned the media mogul's ability to represent the EU, with the Green leader, Monica Frassoni, comparing him to Attila the Hun. Mr Berlusconi was apparently managing to maintain his cool, until snapping at the question from Mr Schultz.

Even as Mr Berlusconi rose to address the European parliament, seven Green MEPs protested, raising placards reading: "Everybody is equal under the law" - in reference to concerns that the Italian leader used his political influence to sidestep legal action over his business dealings.

Mr Berlusconi shrugged off the protest as he began his speech laying out the priorities of Italy's six-month presidency of the EU, promising to work to improve ties with the US following the Iraq war, and to involve Europe in the search for Middle East peace.

He pledged to press as EU president for the staging of a wider Middle East peace conference, offering Sicily as the venue, and again offered his support to the Israeli-Palestinian peace plan.

"Our presidency, along with the US, the Russian Federation and the UN, will work to support the road map so that we can work out a timetable and the means for the launching of an international peace conference," he said.

Mr Berlusconi also promised to use his tenure of the EU's rotating presidency to complete negotiations on a constitution for an expanded EU, improve trans-Atlantic relations, invest in EU-wide upgrades of transport networks and combat illegal immigration.

"The Italian presidency will do all in its power ... to take responsible decisions on our future," he told the 626-member assembly.

The Italian premier has been involved in a slew of legal investigations, including accusations he bribed a judge in the 1980s to sway a business deal in his favour.

The bribery trial was suspended on Monday - the day before Italy took over the EU presidency - after Mr Berlusconi's allies in parliament passed an immunity law that spared the premier from prosecution while in office.

Italy's richest man, Mr Berlusconi controls a $7.8bn (4.7bn) media empire that includes the nation's largest private television broadcaster, Mediaset. Together with state-run RAI, he directly or indirectly controls about 90% of Italy's television market, leading critics to charge he has too much influence over information that he can use for his political and personal gain.

Graham Watson, leader of the Liberal Democrats in the European parliament, condemned Mr Berlusconi's comments as words which "debase the presidency of the [EU] council and offend Europe".
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Old 07-02-2003, 06:31 PM   #2
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As Italy's richest man, being a head of state just may be a hobby for him.
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Old 07-02-2003, 06:39 PM   #3
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ah politics. politics and money seem to be wedded the world over, methinks.

those "nazi" comments were definitely out of line...and don't strike me as "ironic".
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Old 07-02-2003, 06:54 PM   #4
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OMG, I have in-laws in Italy who can't stand Berlusconi. They regularly go to demonstrations against him. My niece from Italy is coming to visit us tomorrow, and of course I'm going to ask her about those demonstrations. She goes to them. That remark about the Nazis is out of line. He sounds like a to me.
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Old 07-02-2003, 07:15 PM   #5
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He is definitely not the worst head of State. He is very rich of course and so the slightest improper word or move by him and he is casts as the devil by many liberals. But for the most part Berlusconi is helping Italy to modernize itself by reforming the business and economic laws and structures in Italy. Of course the socialist and communist in Italy do not like that, but the results of his work have been a huge fall in Italian unemployment from around 14% to 8%. 8% is the lowest unemployment figure in Italy's history. It is also in line with the European Union average after decades of high double digit unemployment, sometimes over 20% in the south.

My good friend from Italy and her family have supported Berlusconi. She is about to become a commercial lawyer and recognizes the need for some of the reforms that Berlusconi has enacted. She is from the Milan area which is the business capital of Italy.
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Old 07-02-2003, 07:22 PM   #6
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He brakes the laws then he changes the law so that he dosn't have to go to jail for what he does.

He's not the worst head of the state of the world, but definetly the worst one in the EU.

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Old 07-02-2003, 07:22 PM   #7
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My maternal grandmother is Italian (from Venice, descendant of the famed Cornaro family). We still have family and acquaintances in Firenze and none of them can stand the guy.

And no, they are not "socialists and communists" either.
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Old 07-02-2003, 08:10 PM   #8
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Anitrim,

"My maternal grandmother is Italian (from Venice, descendant of the famed Cornaro family). We still have family and acquaintances in Firenze and none of them can stand the guy."

"And no, they are not "socialists and communists" either."

Great! I stand by my friends in Milan and the majority of Italians who elected Berlusconi. He has produced Italy's lowest unemployment rate in history. Change and modernization can be difficult for everyone. But clearly the results are very positive and Italians will indeed re-elect him.
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Old 07-02-2003, 08:40 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by STING2
I stand by my friends in Milan and the majority of Italians who elected Berlusconi.
Stand all you want. I just didn't understand why you had to immediately go name dropping the socialists and communists into the equation for shock value. That's all.
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Old 07-02-2003, 09:58 PM   #10
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That's fine, Sting, but I'm with anitram, people who don't like the guy aren't necessarily communists or socialists. My in-laws live in Rome but originally hail from Forli. I think that Berlusconi is the kind of leader that people either love or hate. There's no in-between. I'm definitely asking my niece about those demonstrations.
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Old 07-03-2003, 05:38 AM   #11
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I love the way anyone who dislikes Berlusconi is a "socialist or communist". And by the way, it's not because he's rich that left-wing people tend to dislike him, it's because he's a terrible leader who makes decisions in the interests of himself and other super-rich individuals.

I assume you'll be condemning Mr. Berlusconi for comparing a German MEP to a Nazi, STING? After all, you did have an extremely strong reaction to any post which could be construed as comparing Bush to a Nazi.

*Fizz.
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Old 07-03-2003, 06:03 AM   #12
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I have some friends (conserveratives, liberals, socialists, greens - almost any flavor) and the vast mayority can't stand this guy because most law-changes his made were to protect him from lawenforcement. This guy did a lot of illigal things and he continues to do so.

He uses the "me or the communists card" as long as he is in politics. Some people love him because they love a strong leader a kind of new "King" for the country. For me that guy is MUCH worse then the austrian politican Haider.

Quote:
Here are the unemployment rates (unemployement compared by the ILO rules) from some EU countries (for February 2003):

Luxemburg 2,8
Netherlands 3,4 (Jan)
Austria 4,2
Ireland 4,5
Denmark 5,0
Sweden 5,1
Portugal 6,7
Belgum 7,7
Deutschland 8,7
Finnland 8,8
Italy 9,0 (January)
France 9,1
Spain 11,9
Italy had the 9% last year too (which could be a historical low, i can't remember anything lower at least), their economy grew last year by 0.4%, in February 2002 the rate of price increases was 2,5% in Feb. 2003 it was 2,6% (both times compared to the month before).
In the South of italy there is still 20% Unemployment where in the north there is almost no unemployment (like in the years before). the debts of the country are now 106,7% of the BIP (which could be a historical high also)

Almost all Media is controlled by berlusconi now, directly (personal owner) or indirect (government controlled.He bought some of the critical newspapers and threw out the journalists he didn't like.

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Old 07-03-2003, 08:16 AM   #13
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To the last article: i was talking about almost all media in italy of course, not in general.

So some more quotes to the latest scandal of mr. berluscoini.

Mr. Schroeders statement to Mr Berlusconis Speech:

[quote]"I determine here: This comparison is completely inacceptable in contents and form a derailing. I expect that the Italian Prime Minister apologizes in all form for this comparison."[quote]

Gianfranco Fini (chief of the fascistic rooted NA), the 2nd man after Berlusconi said that Berlusconis statement was not excusable.

Carlo Azeglio Ciampi called Mr. Berlusconi in his office and media expects that he condemns what Mr. Berlusconi said.

To Mr. Berlusconis character: he was accosed of perjures, tax fraud, bribing and falsification of balance sheets.
Most of the trials ended because of statute-barred prosecution or because his party changed the law and made the things he did legal.

For example: you don't get any fine in Italy now if you fake your balance sheets unless you fake them more than 5% of the business volume.
He made another law so that it's easier for the defendand to go to another court.
So a) he can go to a judge he likes and b) he can change the courtrooms for so many times that the things he did are too long ago to be punished.

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Old 07-03-2003, 10:50 AM   #14
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I do not know what he is like as a leader, but I do find his remarks both inappropriate, and actually funny considering what side of the war the Italians were on under Moussalini...
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Old 07-03-2003, 10:59 AM   #15
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He needs to apologize for those remarks. They are insulting to an entire nation. He's not my leader but he strikes me as a . Just my purple tuppence's worth.
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