While Europe’s leaders have been relishing peace and friendship in the years since the Second World War, behind the scenes Italy’s Prime Minister has mounted a direct attack on the EU.
Silvio Berlusconi has astonished many in Brussels by threatening to put a spoke in the wheels of the workings of the union unless commissioners are gagged. It’s the latest clash involving Berlusconi and follows months of domestic controversies. The Italian premier spoke to reporters: “We will not give our vote anymore, effectively blocking the functioning of the Council unless it is agreed that no commissioner or spokesperson of a commissioner can publically weigh in on any topic. I’ll ask that the commissioners and the spokespeople of commissioners who continue this trend, be fired in a definitive manner.” Brussels has recently requested information from Italy on an incident involving possible asylum seekers. Berlusconi has objected to Italian newspaper reports suggesting this implies criticism… An EU spokesman has dismissed the claim saying it’s normal procedure. At the weekend a boat carrying African migrants was intercepted at sea by Italian navel craft and returned to Libya. The action has been described as inhuman by refugee agencies.