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Roberto Benigni provides light relief in a tense Brussels

brussels bureau

Roberto Benigni provides light relief in a tense Brussels


Italy may be causing alarm for European politicians, but one famous Italian actor has been providing some light relief on the subject.

Roberto Benigni spoke at the European Parliament as part of events to mark the 150th anniversary of Italy’s unification.

“My apologies for the foot in plaster,” he said, after arriving in crutches. “But unfortunately, in Italy, somebody stepped on my foot by taking a step backwards. No, that’s not true. I fell – but many people in Italy are falling right now.

“Now we’re without a government,” he went on. “It’s the Belgian model. It’s a marvelous model! I was looking at the Belgians and I was jealous. More than 15 months without a government! While us we had one, but what a mess!”

Benigni also referred to Silvio Berlusconi’s recent comment that proof that there is no crisis in his country is the fact that restaurants are full.

“Here in Brussels I ate mussels and fries,” he said. “I hadn’t eaten in a restaurant for such a long time. I only eat tuna out of a tin because in Italy restaurants are always packed. Come and see for yourself!”

Benigni paid tribute to his country, calling it “a permanent miracle”, and also to Greece, for its contribution to European civilisation.

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