Friday

19th Aug 2022

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."

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

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.

Conditions met for German nuclear extension, officials say

Conditions have been met for the German government to allow a temporary lifetime extension of three remaining nuclear reactors, according to the Wall Street Journal, as the country is facing a likely shortage of gas this winter.

News in Brief

  1. China joins Russian military exercises in Vostok
  2. Ukraine nuclear plant damage would be 'suicide', says UN chief
  3. Denmark to invest €5.5bn in new warships
  4. German economy stagnates, finance ministry says
  5. Syria received stolen grain, says Ukraine envoy
  6. Truss still leads in next UK PM polling
  7. UN chief meets Zelensky and Erdogan over grain exports
  8. Fighting stalls ahead of UN visit, Ukraine says

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic prime ministers: “We will deepen co-operation on defence”
  2. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBConstruction workers can check wages and working conditions in 36 countries
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Canadian ministers join forces to combat harmful content online
  4. European Centre for Press and Media FreedomEuropean Anti-SLAPP Conference 2022
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers write to EU about new food labelling
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersEmerging journalists from the Nordics and Canada report the facts of the climate crisis

Latest News

  1. European inflation hits 25-year high, driven by energy spike
  2. No breakthrough in EU-hosted Kosovo/Serbia talks
  3. Letter to the Editor: Rosatom responds on Zaporizhzhia
  4. Could the central Asian 'stan' states turn away from Moscow?
  5. Serbia expects difficult talks with Kosovo at EU meeting
  6. How scary is threat to Ukraine's Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant?
  7. Slovakia's government stares into the abyss
  8. Finland restricts Russian tourist visas

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us