Tuesday

27th Sep 2016

Berlusconi pledges to resign as EU inspectors land in Rome

  • Berlusconi (l) says he wants new elections (Photo: The Council of the European Union)

Following a humiliating rout in parliament on Tuesday (8 November), 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.

"We're in a difficult situation with regard to the financial markets. Europe has requested we implement [austerity] measures, and it has done so with great insistence. Parliament has shown that we no longer have a majority. I have therefore asked the head of state, [President Giorgio Napolitano], to convince the opposition to vote in favour of the measures, after which I will hand in my resignation,” Berlusconi said on Tuesday evening on one of his TV channels.

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.

It is up to the president to now begin a round of consultations and to decide on the way forward. Possible scenarios include the formation of an emergency government of national unity that would enjoy a large majority in parliament, a new centre-right coalition or snap elections.

The opposition has in the past pleaded for a government of national unity headed by a figure of standing. One name circulating in Rome is that of former European commissioner Mario Monti.

Berlusconi has said he wants elections. "This parliament today is paralysed," he said.

Markets have welcomed his pledge to soon go.

Italian bond rates earlier this week had hit a record of 6.7 percent, nearing the 7 percent threshold which triggered EU-led bail-outs in Greece, Ireland and Portugal.

The euro strengthened against the dollar and Wall Street closed in the black after the Italian leader spoke out, however. Asian markets early on Wednesday also rose more than one percent.

Italy, the eurozone's third biggest economy, has struggled to convince investors it can repay its €1.9 trillion debt.

European leaders last month demanded that Berlusconi give them a detailed set of new austerity measures, with implementation to be monitored by the European Commission – a first for a country that is not formally signed up to a bail-out programme.

The first batch of commission officials arrived in Rome on Tuesday to make "a detailed assessment." EU economic affairs commissioner Olli Rehn the same day noted that the situation in Italy is "very worrying."

For his part, the Italian ambassador to the European Union, Ferdinando Nelli Feroci, downplayed the nature of the mission, describing it in remarks to the Dow Jones newswire as a "dialogue, not an inspection."

Balkan leaders pledge to keep out migrants

Balkan leaders said in New York there would be no repetition of last year's mass influx of refugees, as the EU prepares to launch a new border force to keep people out.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. GoogleDid You Know Europe's Largest Dinosaur Gallery Is in Brussels? Check It Out Now
  2. IPHRHuman Rights in Uzbekistan After Karimov - Joint Statement
  3. CISPECloud Infrastructure Providers Unveil Data Protection Code of Conduct
  4. EFAMessages of Hope From the Basque Country and Galicia
  5. Access NowDigital Rights Heroes and Villains. See Who Protects Your Rights, Who Wants to Take Them Away
  6. Martens CentreQuo Vadis Georgia? What to Expect From the Parliamentary Elections. Debate on 29 September
  7. EJCAppalled by Recommendation to Remove Hamas From EU Terrorism Watch List
  8. GoogleBringing Education to Refugees in Lebanon With the Clooney Foundation for Justice
  9. HuaweiAn Industry-leading ICT Solution Provider and Building a Better World
  10. World VisionUN Refugees Meeting a Wasted Opportunity to Improve the Lives of Millions of Children
  11. Belgrade Security ForumCan Democracy Survive Global Disorder?
  12. GoogleTrimming the Waste-Line: Weaving Circular Economy Principles Into Our Operations