Thursday

9th Apr 2020

Fresh anti-German slur from Italian official

With his country’s leader still embroiled in controversy, the Italian under-secretary of State for Industry, Stefano Stefani has attacked the German people in another extraordinary outburst from a member of the Italian government.

In a letter addressed to his party members, the Lega Nord party member writes: "We know them, the German people. They always want to be the best in the class and inhabit our beaches in the summer, punch-drunk with arrogant self-confidence."

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The letter, published in the official Lega Nord newspaper, La Padania, Will do nothing to ease relations between the two countries, already strained after the Italian Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi compared German MEP Martin Schulz to a Nazi concentration camp commander.

The Financial Times Deutschland reports that the German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder, who recently summoned the Italian ambassador in Berlin to explain Mr Berluconi’s comments was planning to spend his vacation in Italy at the end of July.

The German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer and Minister of Interior Otto Schily are also said to have property in the Italian province of Tuscany.

Mr Schulz is also in Mr Stefani's firing line. According to reports, Mr Stefani has alleged that Mr Schulz has grown up in "a society of beer and French fries".

A never-ending story?

And all this while the Berlusconi drama continues. Mr Schulz has demanded an apology from Mr Berlusconi to be made to the European Parliament.

"[Mr] Berlusconi has a new version of the story every day," the German MEP told Bild am Sonntag. The Italian leader should apologise and assure that nothing like this will repeat, Mr Schulz added.

The president of the Parliament, Pat Cox also thinks that Italian Prime minister and chair of the EU presidency, should end this row with a statement from the parliament's tribune.

Budget Commissioner Michaele Schreyer has announced that Mr Berlusconi has personally apologised to her. He had no intentions to offend the German people, Mrs Schreyer, told Handelsblatt on Saturday (5 July).

This apology "must be accepted" so that the burden from the Italian presidency is taken away, she concluded.

The government may hope to draw a line under the affair this week when approximately 10 Italian ministers, including Mr Stefani's boss, are expected to address the European Parliament on Tuesday and Wednesday (8-9 July).

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