Arriving at the Cannes summit with nothing concrete to show his euro zone partners, Italy’s Silvio Berlusconi is under increasing pressure.
An emergency cabinet meeting in Rome on Wednesday night ended with little progress on moves to strengthen the economy and more coalition bickering.
Berlusconi was seeking a cabinet decree to fast-track reforms but all he got were amendments to the existing budget bill. Outside, demonstrators called for the prime minister to resign.
Even within his own PDL party, disappointment is becoming increasingly clear. Party colleague Antonio Tajani, who is also Vice President of the European Commission, stressed that a decree would have shown Italy’s willingness to take action.
And from political foes, calls are multiplying for Berlusconi to go. Italians risk paying dearly for Berlusconi’s obstinacy in refusing to leave power, according to UDC party leader Pierferdinando Casini.
Despite his domestic and international troubles, the 75-year-old premier is showing no signs of wanting to stand down. If Italy’s debt and political crises get much worse, Berlusconi may no longer have a choice.