Monday

5th Dec 2016

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."

Analysis

Doubts hang over EU investment plan's future

Questions of value for money and a lack of transparency complicate adding almost €200 billion more and extending the Juncker investment plan to 2020.

News in Brief

  1. Talks on wholesale roaming rules to start
  2. Lead MEP Dieselgate committee: Italy and Slovakia will cooperate
  3. Transparency NGO sues EU commission on Turkey deal
  4. Pro-EU liberal wins UK by-election
  5. Finnish support for Nato drops, Russia-scepticism grows
  6. Cyprus talks to resume in January
  7. Documents from German NSA inquiry released
  8. Transport commissioner 'not aware' of legal action on emissions

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. CESIElects Leaders and Sets Safety & Health at Work and Gender Equality Among the Guidelines For Next Term
  2. European Gaming & Betting AssociationContinues to Grow its Membership and Welcomes its Newest Member Association
  3. ACCASupports the Women of Europe Awards, Celebrating the Women who are Building Europe
  4. European Heart NetworkWhat About our Kids? Protect Children From Unhealthy Food and Drink Marketing
  5. ECR GroupRestoring Trust and Confidence in the European Parliament
  6. UNICEFChild Rights Agencies Call on EU to put Refugee and Migrant Children First
  7. MIRAIA New Vision on Clean Tech: Balancing Energy Efficiency, Climate Change and Costs
  8. World VisionChildren Cannot Wait! 7 Priority Actions to Protect all Refugee and Migrant Children
  9. ANCI LazioRegio-Mob Project Delivers Analysis of Trasport and Mobility in Rome
  10. SDG Watch EuropeCivil Society Disappointed by the Commission's Plans for Sustainable Development Goals
  11. PLATO15 Fully-Funded PhD Positions Open – The Post-Crisis Legitimacy of the EU (PLATO)
  12. Access NowTell the EU Council: Protect our Rights to Privacy and Security