Thursday

23rd Feb 2017

Berlusconi: Life was cheaper before the euro

  • Eurozone break-up rumours are driving up Italy's borrowing costs (Photo: Brett Jordan)

Italians are poorer today than before the introduction of the euro, Prime Minister Berlusconi said Friday (4 November) after failing to gain the trust of world leaders and markets about the reforms his government still has to implement.

"A family used to be able to live easily with two million lire per month, but today that is difficult with one thousand euro," he told press in Cannes after the G20 summit on Friday (4 November). "I don’t blame the euro, I blame the exchange rate."

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

The comment is remarkable amid widespread speculation of a potential break up of the eurozone, as several member-states, including Italy, struggle to convince investors of their ability to repay their enormous debts.

Only minutes earlier, it had been confirmed that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) will monitor progress on the implementation of planned reforms in Italy. It had even offered to throw the country a lifeline, but that was duly refused.

"Our request to the IMF was never a financial request, but rather one of know-how and experience, to make our commitments even more clear," said Giulio Tremonti, Italy’s finance minister, sitting next to Berlusconi in the press briefing.

The IMF will work alongside the European Commission, who will travel to Rome as early as next week for "a detailed assessment and monitoring" of the reform package, which is still to be approved in parliament.

Herman Van Rompuy, president of the European Council, was quick to attack press questions suggesting the EU had put Italy under a "diktat."

"We haven't put Italy in a corner, not at all. They proposed themselves to invite the IMF," he said.

Berlusconi further said he is not planning to step down and denied rumours of a possible new government of national unity, saying: "I don’t think that is necessary."

He also denied accusations that he himself is to blame for the country’s current lack of credibility. Instead, he said, “It is the result of Italy’s behaviour in the past, of prejudice."

Report: Italy to be put under IMF surveillance

Reuters reports that Italy has agreed to be put under surveillance by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as part of a plan to restore market trust in the eurozone's third-largest economy.

Berlusconi heads to G20 amid mutiny at home

Silvio Berlusconi’s position as prime minister of Italy is increasingly uncertain after a gruelling day of emergency meetings and a growing mutiny at home.

Greece and creditors break bailout deadlock

Athens agreed on budget cuts worth up to €3.6 billion and extracted some concessions from creditors, but the IMF warned the package might not be enough.

MEPs approve Canada trade deal amid protest

Amid protests in front of the European Parliament's Strasbourg building and after heated debate among MEPs, the landmark trade deal with Canada was approved with a comfortable majority.

News in Brief

  1. Romanian parliament buries controversial corruption decree
  2. Dozens drown off Libyan coast
  3. EU ministers approve anti-tax avoidance directive
  4. Poland rejects EU criticism of court changes
  5. German nationalist leader met with Putin allies in Moscow
  6. German housing market overheated, says Bundesbank
  7. France invites three EU leaders for Versailles summit in March
  8. Greece agrees on new bailout reforms

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Malta EU 2017Economic Governance: Agreement Reached on Structural Reform Support Programme for Member States
  2. Socialists & DemocratsWomen Have to Work Ten Years Longer to Match Lifetime Earnings of Men
  3. Counter BalanceTrans-Adriatic Pipeline Is a Major Risk for Banks, Warns New Analysis
  4. Martens CentreEU and US Migration Policies Compared: Join the Debate on February 28th
  5. Swedish EnterprisesTechnology and Data Flows - Shaping the Society of Tomorrow
  6. UNICEFNearly 1.4 Million Children at Risk of Death as Famine Looms Across Africa and Yemen
  7. Malta EU 2017End of Roaming Fees: Council Reaches Agreement on Wholesale Caps
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Innovation House Opens in New York to Help Startups Access US Market
  9. Centre Maurits CoppietersMinorities and Migrations
  10. Salzburg Global SeminarThe Child in the City: Health, Parks and Play
  11. UNICEFNumber of Ukrainian Children Needing Aid Nearly Doubles to 1 Million Over the Past Year
  12. Centre Maurits CoppietersThe Situation of Refugee Women in Europe