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Posts tagged ‘Silvio Berlusconi’

“anti-Merkel” result from the Italian elections

Dubbed an “anti-Merkel” result, the German chancellor has refrained from commenting publicly on the Italian elections’ outcome but two top-table officials stressed it was paramount for Rome to keep its reform course on

Merkel was, however, reported to have dismissed interpreting the Italian vote as  a kickback against government austerity measures at a meeting of her conservative party on Tuesday, according to participants.

“The government does not adhere at all to such one-dimensional explanations,” her spokesman Steffen Seibert told a regular government news conference the following day.

Most outspoken among German politicians has been Merkel’s gaffe-prone challenger from the opposition  centre-left in this year’s general elections, Peer Steinbrück.

“I am downright appalled that two clowns won,” he told a Social Democratic Party event in Potsdam late on Tuesday, sparking the Italian president to cancel scheduled talks the next day with him.

He said that while former comedian turned anti-corruption firebrand Beppe Grillo was a “professional clown with nothing against being called that,” former premier Silvio Berlusconi was “a clown with a particular testosterone

full article:  http://www.thelocal.de/politics/20130228-48241.html


The Fourth Reich

With his appeal in a SPIEGEL interview for national leaders to be given greater independence from parliaments in euro bailout decisions, Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti has sparked intense anger in Germany. Members of both Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government and the opposition have labelled Monti’s demands “undemocratic.”

Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti is concerned that the euro zone is inflicting serious damage on Europe. In an interview with SPIEGEL published on Monday, he said: “The tensions that have accompanied the euro zone in recent years are already leading to a psychological dissolution of Europe.” The 68-year-old warned that if the euro were allowed to become a factor in Europe drifting apart, “then all the foundations of the European Project will be destroyed.”

But one statement in his interview in particular has sparked a contentious debate. Monti said that European leaders needed to defend their freedom to act against parliaments. “If governments allow themselves to be entirely bound to the decisions of their parliament, without protecting their own freedom to act, a break up of Europe would be a more probable outcome than deeper integration.”

Since taking office in Italy in November, Monti has led a cabinet of technocrats that has the support of a broad majority in parliament. Nevertheless, when it comes to economic reforms, austerity measures and the euro bailout, Monti often struggles to patch together a majority ahead of key votes. But his comments also appear to be directed at Germany, where Chancellor Angela Merkel requires parliamentary approval for most of her major bailout policies.

In Berlin, a number of politicians have spoken out against Monti’s comments. “The acceptance of the euro and its rescue is strengthened through national parliaments and not weakened,” Joachim Poss, deputy floor leader for the center-left Social Democratic Party, told the Rheinische Post newspaper. The politician said it appeared that the image of parliament in Italy had suffered during the “unspeakable Berlusconi years.”

Meanwhile, Frank Schäffler, a prominent euro-skeptic with the business-friendly Free Democratic Party, the junior partner in Merkel’s coalition government, said any possible collapse of the European Union would be a product of too little democracy and rule of law rather than too much. His party colleague, FDP floor leader Rainer Brüderle, said when implementing the necessary reforms, people needed to “take care that Europe retains sufficient democratic legitimization.”

‘We Need Strengthening, Not Weakening of European Democracy’

Criticism of Monti erupted over the weekend after SPIEGEL pre-released quotes from the interview. Michael Grosse-Brömer a senior official with Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union said that while a government’s ability to act is of decisive importance, “that doesn’t in any way justify an attempt to limit the parliamentary controls that are necessary in a democracy.”

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, also of the FDP, joined the debate as well, saying that when it comes to European issues, “it is beyond discussion. We need a strengthening, not a weakening of democratic legitimation in Europe.”

The most outspoken criticism came from politicians with the Christian Social Union (CSU), the Bavarian sister party to Merkel’s conservatives, with a leading official calling Monti’s words an “attack against democracy.” “The greed for German taxpayer money is blossoming in undemocratic ways with Mr. Monti,” party General Secretary Alexander Dobrindt said. “Mr. Monti apparently needs a clear announcement that we Germans will not be prepared to eliminate democracy in order to finance Italian debts.”

In his interview with SPIEGEL, Monti warned of the possible break up of Europe and called for euro-zone governments to have greater independence from parliament in decision-making. Of course governments needed to orient themselves based on parliament’s decisions, he said. “But every government also has the duty to educate parliament,” Monti said.

During the past week, Monti moved numerous times to distance himself from Germany’s current position in the euro bailout. Most recently, he called for abanking license to be issued to the long-term euro rescue fund, the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) — a move Berlin has staunchly opposed. In his SPIEGEL interview, the Italian leader greeted efforts by the ECB to address “severe malfunctioning” in the government bond market. He said the problems “have to be solved quickly now so that there’s no further uncertainty about the euro zone’s ability to overcome the crisis.”

Criticism of Merkel

In recent days, negative sentiment against Germany and Chancellor Merkel has been growing in Italy. Last week, the Italian daily Il Giornale published a story with the headline “Quarto Reich,” or “Fourth Reich” on its front page. It featured an image of Merkel raising her right arm with the caption “Heil Angela.” The paper is part of Silvio Berlusconi’s publishing empire and the headline was aimed at expressing dissatisfaction over Merkel’s objections to a banking license for the ESM. Nevertheless, it reflects the increasingly shrill tenor of the political debate in Europe over the euro crisis and it mirrors similar coverage of the chancellor in the Greek media.

Even at home in Germany, some are criticizing Merkel’s positions, including Baden-Württemberg Governor Winfried Kretschmann of the Green Party. “She has a tough task and I don’t want to come across as a know-it-all,” he told the tabloidBild newspaper. “But Ms. Merkel needs to emphasize the global context of individual decisions more clearly. I was never a huge fan of former Chancellor Helmut Kohl, but he did have a clear political vision for Europe … I miss that clarity today.”

Meanwhile, the chancellor of neighboring Austria, Werner Faymann, has said he believes Merkel will shift her policies. In an interview with the Vienna daily Kurier, Faymann said he believed that Merkel would abandon her opposition to providing the ESM with a banking license, which would essentially give it unlimited borrowing capacity with the European Central Bank, if it became clear that was the only way to save the euro. “I anticipate that when it is necessary for the protection of the euro, that the German chancellor will go along with the next step.” When a reporter at the newspaper reminded Faymann that Merkel opposed the banking license, the Austrian chancellor replied: “We’ve already had the experience that the German chancellor has changed her mind during the course of a political debate — always to protect the euro.”

Editor’s note: SPIEGEL ONLINE will publish the full interview with Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti in English on Tuesday.

dsl — with wire reports

Banker Coup: Goldman Sachs Takes Over Europe

Paul Joseph Watson Prison Planet.com Monday, November 14, 2011

Precisely as we warned all along, the very financial terrorists responsible for the economic collapse have now exploited the crisis to pose as saviors and oversee a banker coup – with Goldman Sachs stooges now in control of both Italy and the European Central Bank.

Banker Coup: Goldman Sachs Takes Over Europe mario 2045655c

The objective of the coup is to exploit the euro debt crisis as a vehicle through which to create a European federal superstate that will transfer all remaining control over national affairs to Brussels. The globalists have already started the process, hand-picking two unelected stooges to replace democratically elected Prime Ministers in Greece and Italy.

Silvio Berlusconi was the Colonel Gaddafi of Europe. Despite his personally loathsome character, Berlusconi was proving to be an obstacle for the banker coup and was hastily dismissed, not by the will of the people, but as Time’s Stephen Faris explains, by an action of insiders who control the markets.

full article at source: http://www.prisonplanet.com/banker-coup-goldman-sachs-takes-over-europe.html

Berlusconi Screws Over The Wrong Person: ECB Shake Up Imminent Following Big French-Italian Relations SNAFU?

Silvio Berlusconi in a meeting

Image via Wikipedia

by Tyler Durden

Just when one thought the Italian PM could not possibly come up with yet another
massive SNAFU, he does it once again. This time however he may have screwed over
the wrong (non-underage) person. Last night, after the FT had previously leaked
(incorrectly once again) that the Italian head would pick ECB executive Lorenzo
Bini Smaghi to head the Bank of Italy following Mario Draghi’s departure to head
the ECB, Berlusconi instead chose a relatively unknown Ignazio Visco to head the
Italian Central Bank. The move, while largely symbolic as it hardly matters who
is in charge of the Italian bank but is of great import from a “national pride”
perspective, managed to infuriate French leader Nicholas Sarkozy, who had
previously made it clear he would advance his support of incoming ECB head,
former Goldmanite and current Bank of Italy head, Mario Draghi, only
if Bini Smaghi would be pulled and his seat would be vacated to allow a
Frenchman to enter the ECB.

full article here:http://www.zerohedge.com/news/berlusconi-screws-over-wrong-person-ecb-shake-imminent-following-big-french-italian-relations-s

Death Spiral of EU Crisis?

Tuesday, May 24, 2011 –
 by Staff Report of the Daily Bell


Crisis-talk in Brussels is hardly new. What’s different today is the palpable sense of failure and confusion communicated, even by the most fervent advocates of the EU. It is easy to dismiss this reaction as merely a symptom of the bitter conflict and rivalry unleashed by the crisis of the Eurozone, with Greece, Ireland and Portugal having to be bailed out with huge injections of cash to keep their governments solvent. However, the current problems confronting the integrity of the EU are not confined to the domain of economics; the organisation is also threatened by a political and cultural crisis. – Spiked

Dominant Social Theme: Just give us a little more time. Say, can we ban these nasty bond markets? Why do they exist anyway?

Free-Market Analysis: Frank Furedi of the alternative web newspaper Spiked has written an insightful article on the breakdown of confidence among the EU’s chattering classes. He has the idea that Eurocrats are so out of touch with average Europeans that they have run out of ideas of how to protect the union from its onrushing Armageddon. His larger point, though he doesn’t use our vocabulary, is that a fundamental dominant social theme (internationalism forever) is beginning to crumble.

This is a cause for happiness in our view. Let the EU crumble and the Anglo-American elites will have received a significant setback. Combine a failure of the EU with failure in Afghanistan (see other story, this issue) and it becomes clear that Money Power is less dominant in this century than in the last. Of course, we have been arguing this possibility for years.

This group of authoritarian socialists IS out of touch. They would disdainfully require countries to vote again and again when the votes were not in the best interest of the EU Leviathan. They would gladly hold whole populations hostage for the sins of a handful of elites, while ignoring the EU’s own fiscal lapses, ones that are so bad an auditor has refused to sign off on EU finances for a decade or more.

Lately, there seems to have been a pullback in EU elite ambitions, a cessation of confidence in the idea that Eurocrats could slam their collective, Orwellian boot endlessly in the face of a resentful populace. Talk of massive abrogation of civil rights has seemingly been muted for the moment. Putting all EU citizens into one large one database in order to spy on them more effectively has seemingly been shelved for the time being. Building an EU Army to help NATO with its job of oppression around the world has quieted.

Generally, we’re getting the sense that the Eurocrats are beginning to believe that the financial crisis is a bridge too far. Gone are the proclamations of confidence issuing from the lips of Sarkozy, Merkel and Trichet. The Camp of Confidence seems to have fallen mute. Furedi captures it well.

The new buzzword in Brussels: ‘Crisis’ The EU is beset with problems, but it is so cut off from the electorate that it lacks the popular legitimacy to solve them. Printer-friendly version Email-a-friend Respond During a recent visit to Brussels, I was struck by the uninhibited use of the word ‘crisis’ by people who closely watch or inhabit the institutions of the European Union.

With the Greek economy in a state of disintegration, European leaders know that there is no alternative but to restructure Greece’s debt. They may use the euphemism of ‘re-profiling debt’ to avoid acknowledging the scale of the problem, but the spectre of insolvent nations haunts Europe. Just a few weeks after pouring billions of euros into bailing out Portugal, it is evident that the medicine is not working and that the Eurozone is in big trouble. Inevitably, there is talk of reorganising Europe’s monetary union as more and more people have lost faith in the existing bailout strategy.

Opposition to this strategy has led to the growth of euroscepticism throughout the more prosperous regions of Europe. A recent opinion poll in Germany showed that 30 per cent of the respondents wanted an ‘independent Germany’, without the euro. That is why last week, the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, stated that people in countries like Greece, Portugal and Spain should not have more holidays, work less or retire earlier than Germans. One Portuguese journalist described this gesture as ‘feeding the populist monster that is growing in the Europe of the euro’. But this monster is not about to disappear.

Furedi makes other interesting points. The anti-EU True Finn party has emerged as Finland’s third-largest and is actually within a whisper of being Finland’s largest. This is no accident, he writes, and shows how the EU’s woes are mutating.

There are other issues, just as serious as the financial crisis, though they have received less attention. The biggest challenge, curiously, may be the tens of thousands of North African and Libyan refugees showing up on the doorstep of Italy. Prime minister Silvio Berlusconi has called this refugee wave a ‘human tsunami,” and has indicated that Italy is not about to foot the bill for an endless surge of homeless Tunisians.

Berlusconi wants a fundamental tenet of the EU done away with for the moment – the Schengen border-free travel agreement. Freedom of movement, Furedi points out, is one of the few areas where the EU has delivered something entirely positive, and now it is under attack. It is not just the Italians either; the Danish government has indicated it will regenerate permanent border controls. The EU, Furedi notes, has responded by announcing it will spend £84million “to explain European policy and for ‘better connecting with citizens’.”

The article saves the best for last. Furedi explains that the EU has been effective at overcoming resistance to its policies because it was deliberately set up in such a way that its top Eurocrats did not have to respond to public opinion. Many were appointed rather than elected; at the very, top votes were not necessary to make policy, which could simply be handed down.

Of course, this fundamental anti-democratic state of affairs has kept various EU opponents in something of a subdued frenzy (and been responsible for making many powerful EU enemies) but authoritarianism admittedly has its merits. “The EU is able to adopt policies that would often prove contentious and difficult to justify in a more open, national parliamentary setting,” Furedi points out.

Furedi also make the clever point that lacking legitimacy, the EU substituted vast PR programs. He is absolutely right about this. We noted this occurrence without fully understanding its import. But the EU’s use of PR is virtually unprecedented within a modern democratic setting. Not only is it unusual, but as Furedi notes, it has produced an environment where the EU’s top people have no legitimacy and no political tools to wield when they need them most.

He writes, “Today decisions affecting the lives of hundreds of millions of people cannot be insulated from the anger and hostility of the public.” This is a profound point. It was always pointed out by the EU’s enemies that its lack of accountability was its most dangerous element. But ironically, this very lack of accountability means that the Eurocrats never built the communication channels and relationships that could be used in a time of crisis.

The European Central Bank just yesterday indicated that any kind of debt restructuring was out of the question for Greece, presumably for any of the PIGS. We have noted in the past the exceptional European “rigor” on this issue. The Greek socialist leadership promptly and cravenly agreed with the ECB and came out of with a statement vowing to inflict on Greeks every part of the unfair, unwise and unworkable austerity program that the IMF has devised for the Greeks –and for Portugal and Ireland as well. In fact, they really have no idea what to do. The politicians have begun to bicker with the bankers and it is wonderful to watch.

Conclusion: Spain, convulsed by protests, may be next on the austerity list. If Spain goes, so goes the EU – and we will gladly wave it goodbye. One more dreadful, authoritarian celebration to pile on the junk heap. That it will likely mark a significant setback to the Anglosphere elite’s efforts at building world government would only make it more satisfying.


‘Party is now over for ECB and ‘Bunga

David McWilliams

 has posted a new article, ‘Party is now over for ECB and ‘Bunga
Bunga’ banks’

Are you too fascinated by the details of Berlusconi’s ‘Bunga Bunga’ parties?
With all the serious stuff about the Dail, the election, politics and our
predicament, we need a distraction.

A quick glance at ‘Grazia’ from time to time is just the tonic. In such
magazines and in all the red tops, we get the “no-holds-barred” […]

You may view the full article and add your own comments at



Shane Ross: Bankers who peddled the poison – Shane Ross, Columnists – Independent.ie

WILL our European masters or the IMF czars ever inflict the same penury on Spain as they did on Ireland? Or will they ever put Italy on the same rack?

What do you think?

Europe has ganged up with the IMF to squeeze Ireland and protect its own bankers. First, our external saviours force-fed Ireland with a juicy loan. Then, they squeezed us dry.

Europe was hell-bent on lending us the money, even keener than we were on borrowing it. They desperately desired a deal. Europe’s big players feared the consequences of an Irish default. The default disease could spread from the island on to the mainland. Unchecked , it could travel not just to Portugal and Spain, but even as far as the mighty Italy. Hence the force-feeding.

Ireland was a pushover. The Irish negotiating team , led by the gentle trio of Brian Lenihan, Patrick Honohan and Matthew Elderfield, was stuffed with conventional apparatchiks deeply deferential to the European ethos. The nuts and bolts of the deal were agreed by lesser civil servants, intent on staying on the right side of the big nations.

Ireland was humbled for its pains. The mandarins allowed little Ireland to act as a firewall to defend big Portugal, bigger Spain and even bigger Italy.

Would the IMF and European leaders have treated Spanish prime minister Zapatero or even Europe’s most unlovable lover, Italian premier Silvio Berlusconi, with the same disdain as they dished out to Ireland?

Not a hope, although we will soon find out as the non-believers move in for the euro- kill. Berlusconi is a wild card, amorous, vain and volatile, a scoundrel in charge of a major nation with a troubled economy — a pretty handy perch from which to negotiate.

Berlusconi is living proof that it is better to be a taxpayer in a large state run by a blackguard than in a small state guided by fallible, but honest, individuals like Lenihan, Honohan and Elderfield.

Last week the normally dry Lex column in the Financial Times summed up Berlusconi. Referring to the sensational Wikileaks documents, Lex highlighted their salacious claims that Silvio’s “frequent late nights and penchant for partying hard mean he does not get sufficient rest”. Salivating at the prospect of a Berlusconi defeat in the approaching Italian elections, the po-faced Lex suggested that “on the upside, a reverse for Silvio could see the end of Mr Berlusconi, who could then spend more time in the bedroom where, arguably, he can do less damage”.

Wow. Colourful language for the Financial Times. But on reflection, perhaps Brian, Patrick, Matthew and the mandarins should have spent more time popping Viagra pills in the bedroom.

We badly needed testosterone-filled negotiators, people prepared to threaten the only card feared by the toxic lenders bearing gifts: the poison pill. They should have shaped up to torpedo the talks. Their opening position should have been that the European banks (or taxpayers) must share the pain.

It is crystal clear from the leaks at the negotiations that this key issue of burning the senior bondholders was never countenanced. It was a no-go area. Ireland accepted that the top table in Merrion Street was a default-free zone. Our heroes never even put up a fight to discuss the default option.

The very least we could have expected from our cornered team was a dramatic walkout, a few tantrums, and the prospect of a nasty day on the markets for every European bondholder the day after the deal was dumped. That would have concentrated the minds of our overseas masters and their shielded banks.

What would such inspired insanity have achieved?

Plenty, maybe.

There is a strong, logical — not moral — argument for forcing the German, French, British, Swiss and other banks to pay a proportionate price for the Irish disaster.


Well, Ireland’s bankers are rightly vilified as the villains of the economic collapse; they were reckless lenders, they were greedy, they feathered their own nests and they were unaccountable. They went out into the global markets and borrowed buckets of money which they will never repay.

Worse still, they destroyed the Irish economy by lending on the loot to Irish property developers who will never repay them either. Their banking model was demented.

No argument there.

But where did Ireland’s bankers source all that money that they lent on?

Who were the morons allowing Irish banks this largesse?

Do they too not have a shared responsibility for the Irish bankruptcy?

What stress checks did they carry out on the credit worthiness of Ireland’s banks? Or did these overseas lenders, with almost equal recklessness, throw the money at Ireland’s lunatic fringe?

Anyone lending money to Anglo Irish Bank during Ireland’s property frenzy was half bonkers. Admittedly, the Irish establishment was insisting that neither Anglo, Bank of Ireland nor Allied Irish Banks was undercapitalised, but shrewder heads in the markets were barking their disbelief of the official line and their distrust of Irish banks.

On March 17, 2007, hedge funds launched attacks on weaker quoted banks, like HBOS and Anglo Irish Bank. They had spotted fatal flaws in the balance sheets. The share prices of Ireland’s financial shares plunged as opportunists in the market exploited the folly of a few bankers living a lie. They could read fantasy balance sheets. And yet European banks kept shovelling money at the guys who had gone walkabout.

A stockbroker’s report at the same time described Anglo as “a building society on crack”; even the normally sanguine NTMA boss Michael Somers admitted that he had limited his agency’s exposure to Anglo. The warnings were everywhere, if the overseas bankers were looking for them.

Yet all the while, the untouchable senior bondholders were confidently clinging to their Anglo bonds. Overseas banks were lending billions to Anglo, AIB and Bank of Ireland in the money markets. European bankers were among the cheerleaders.

Today the Irish taxpayer is being asked to pick up the tab for the sins of Europe. Just as Anglo was culpable, so too were the originators of the funds that Anglo passed on to Ireland’s property developers: German , French , Dutch and other European financial institutions .

These guys peddled the poison to Irish bankers, who in turn injected it into the Irish economy. Today Ireland’s taxpayers are landed with the entire bill.

Many of the terms of the crippling deal with the IMF and Europe will be contained in the Budget on Tuesday. There is a clear duty on Fine Gael and Labour to reject the deal and renegotiate if they come to power in February. The least they could do is hold an instant referendum.

There is no shame in defaulting. As no one — bar our tormentors in the IMF and Europe — will any longer lend to us, we are de facto defaulters already. But part of the blame lies with those bankers who funded us when we were already flashing amber lights.

We are paying a price that neither Berlusconi nor Zapatero will ever have to face.

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