Saturday

25th Nov 2017

Rumours swirl around possible Berlusconi resignation

  • Berlusconi has denied rumours he will step down (Photo: The Council of the European Union)

Political commentators and markets went into overdrive Monday afternoon (7 November) amid rumours that Silvio Berlusconi is to step down as prime minister of Italy.

"That Silvio Berlusconi is about to step down is now clear to everybody, it's a matter of hours, some say minutes," Giuliano Ferrara, editor of newspaper Il Foglio, said in a video posted on the newspaper's website.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

“Berlusconi will resign between tonight and tomorrow,” tweeted Franco Bechis, deputy director of daily newspaper Libero.

Berlusconi himself denied the rumours. “The voices talking of my resignation are unfounded,” he wrote on his personal Facebook page.

"I spoke to the prime minister a short time ago and he told me the rumors of his resignation were baseless," Fabrizio Cicchitto, head of the parliamentary group of Berlusconi's People of Freedom party said in a statement.

Markets were quick to respond to the rumour with stock markets initially rallying and the yield on Italian bonds falling. But soon after the denial by Berlusconi, stock markets slumped again and government borrowing costs went up.

Even if the resignation rumours turn out to be unfounded, Berlusconi does not appear to be out of trouble yet.

The Italian lower house is set to vote the government’s 2010 budget on Tuesday (8 November). This would normally be a routine piece of legislation but is now seen by many as a vote of confidence in the embattled Italian prime minister.

If Berlusconi loses the vote, president Giorgio Napolitano may ask him to step down.

“Judging from the latest news, it seems that we no longer have the majority and it would be useless to resist,” said Roberto Maroni on Sunday, the country’s interior minister and a heavyweight within the government’s junior coalition partner, the far-right Northern League.

Earlier in the day, Gabriella Carlucci, an MP of Berlusconi’s Freedom of People party and former TV starlet, had announced that she had defected to the opposition. “The only solution for the crisis is a government of national unity,” she said.

Six other government MPs had already said they would vote against the government and asked Berlusconi to “act like a statesman and make way for a new phase in politics and a new government”.

At a rally on Saturday in Rome organised by the Democratic Party, the biggest opposition party, tens of thousands of protesters called for Berlusconi to step down and to allow a government of national unity to restore the country’s dignity. “It was the biggest protest in recent political history,” said Pier Luigi Bersani, the party’s leader.

Berlusconi, meanwhile, seems as confident as ever. “We have verified the numbers and we still have a majority,” he said on Sunday.

Both government parties have repeatedly said they would not support a new government of national unity. “It would be better to go to the ballots,” said Umberto Bossi, leader of the Northern League.

The European Commission, for its part, refused to comment on the situation. But commission spokespeople were at pains to stress that it was different to troubled Greece where the prime minister resigned Sunday amid ongoing recriminations over the latest austerity drive.

European officials are preparing to travel to Rome this week for a detailed assessment of Italy's planned reforms.

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: Life was cheaper before the euro

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

Berlusconi pledges to resign as EU inspectors land in Rome

Following a humiliating rout in parliament on Tuesday, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has said he will resign immediately after a package of austerity measures is approved - a development expected in the coming weeks.

Analysis

EU 'cannot afford' lengthy German deadlock

Angela Merkel's failure to form a coalition government has raised concerns in Europe that the EU's most powerful country will send the block into paralysis.

Berlin risks being 'culprit' for stalling EU, warns Green MEP

Reinhard Buetikofer, who participated in the failed coalition talks, puts the blame squarely on FDP being 'afraid to govern', but hopes "there will be a lot of phone calls" to German politicians on the consequences of the deadlock in Berlin.

News in Brief

  1. Merkel: Germany remains 'active' in EU
  2. Work with Israel, Egypt on gas exploration, says Commission
  3. Only seven EU states have 'advanced' stage climate plans
  4. EU dashes integration hopes of eastern countries
  5. EU approves joint Irish electricity scheme
  6. German president to launch 'Grand Coalition' talks
  7. Irish opposition 'threatens national interest', says minister
  8. SPD drops opposition to grand coalition in Germany

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EPSU-Eurelectric-IndustriAllElectricity European Social Partners Stand up for Just Energy Transition
  2. European Friends of ArmeniaSignature of CEPA Marks a Fresh Start for EU-Armenia Relations
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Energy Ministers Pledge to Work More Closely at Nordic and EU Level
  4. European Friends of ArmeniaPresident Sargsyan Joined EuFoA Honorary Council Inaugural Meeting
  5. International Partnership for Human RightsEU Leaders Should Press Azerbaijan President to End the Detention of Critics
  6. CECEKey Stakeholders to Jointly Tackle the Skills Issue in the Construction Sector
  7. European Friends of ArmeniaLaunch of Honorary Council on the Occasion of the Eastern Partnership Summit and CEPA
  8. Idealist Quarterly"Dear Politics, Time to Meet Creativity!" Afterwork Discussion & Networking
  9. EPSUStudy Finds TUNED and Employers in Central Governments Most Representative
  10. Mission of China to the EUAmbassador Zhang Ming Received by Tusk; Bright Future for EU-China Relations
  11. EU2017EEEstonia, With the ECHAlliance, Introduces the Digital Health Society Declaration
  12. ILGA EuropeFreedom of Movement For All Families? Same Sex Couple Ask EU Court for Recognition