Thursday

23rd Feb 2017

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."

MEPs set to approve Canada trade deal

The European Parliament is expected to give the green light to the EU-Canada free trade agreement, which would start being implemented in April.

EU leaders to discuss migration, in Trump's shadow

New US president Trump overshadows the Malta summit of EU leaders on Friday, as they discuss the bloc's future amid new geopolitical realities, and step up efforts to stop migration via Libya from North African countries.

News in Brief

  1. Romanian parliament buries controversial corruption decree
  2. Dozens drown off Libyan coast
  3. EU ministers approve anti-tax avoidance directive
  4. Poland rejects EU criticism of court changes
  5. German nationalist leader met with Putin allies in Moscow
  6. German housing market overheated, says Bundesbank
  7. France invites three EU leaders for Versailles summit in March
  8. Greece agrees on new bailout reforms

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Malta EU 2017Economic Governance: Agreement Reached on Structural Reform Support Programme for Member States
  2. Socialists & DemocratsWomen Have to Work Ten Years Longer to Match Lifetime Earnings of Men
  3. Counter BalanceTrans-Adriatic Pipeline Is a Major Risk for Banks, Warns New Analysis
  4. Martens CentreEU and US Migration Policies Compared: Join the Debate on February 28th
  5. Swedish EnterprisesTechnology and Data Flows - Shaping the Society of Tomorrow
  6. UNICEFNearly 1.4 Million Children at Risk of Death as Famine Looms Across Africa and Yemen
  7. Malta EU 2017End of Roaming Fees: Council Reaches Agreement on Wholesale Caps
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Innovation House Opens in New York to Help Startups Access US Market
  9. Centre Maurits CoppietersMinorities and Migrations
  10. Salzburg Global SeminarThe Child in the City: Health, Parks and Play
  11. UNICEFNumber of Ukrainian Children Needing Aid Nearly Doubles to 1 Million Over the Past Year
  12. Centre Maurits CoppietersThe Situation of Refugee Women in Europe