Italy’s Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has reacted angrily to recent press coverage of him making a series of apparent diplomatic gaffes
At yesterday’s NATO summit, he was accused of seeming to snub Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel by making her wait while he was engrossed on his mobile phone. He later apologised for holding things up but denied she was at all offended. “I don’t know why the press said that I didn’t say hello to Mrs Merkel,” Berlusconi said, “I told her as we were getting out of the car that I was talking to Mr. Erdogan. It was very important, so I moved away to continue doing my job, that of “lobbying” the Turkish prime minister” Later when he arrived in Prague for the EU-US summit, the Italian leader, who is known for his larger than life character, was more forthright in condemnation of the press, particularly his own countrymen. “This is all a slander against me and unfair and inaccurate information. I won’t say I’ll do something about it regarding some journalists, but I certainly would like to,” Berlusconi said angrily. Berlusconi’s office has also played down last Wednesday’s apparent annoyance of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth who is said to have called him “too loud” during a photo session of leaders. But that has not stopped the Italian press having a field day at their own prime minister’s expense.