• Germany's news in English

Berlin bats back Berlusconi barbs

The Local · 11 Dec 2012, 17:38

Published: 11 Dec 2012 17:38 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Speaking at a news conference in Berlin Merkel said: "I support what Mario Monti's government has put in place."

The reforms he has carried out have resulted in Italy winning back at least part of the confidence of the financial markets, she added.

"Therefore the Italian people will clearly vote to put Italy on a good path," Merkel said.

Stock markets sold off sharply and borrowing costs soared after a weekend of political drama in Italy in which Monti said he would soon step down and his mercurial predecessor Berlusconi announced a return to politics. Elections are now expected to be held in February.

Berlusconi on Tuesday set the tone for his upcoming election campaign accusing Monti of being "German-centric" and said that all the main economic indicators had worsened since the former Eurocrat was installed in power.

Speaking in Berlin before leaving for a meeting in Morocco on the Syrian crisis, Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle hit back, saying it was unacceptable for Germany to be used as a target in a "popularist election campaign."

"Neither Germany nor Europe is to blame for the difficulties in Italy. On the contrary, Germany has always been a great help in overcoming the problems," he added.

Monti's reforms are "of great importance for the stability of Italy but also for the stability of Europe," stressed the minister.

Conversely, if the reforms were to be wound back, "it would be not only a sad development for Italy, it would be a dangerous development for Europe," insisted Westerwelle.

Monti has been credited with pushing through much needed economic reforms in Italy and markets rewarded him by pushing down borrowing costs that at one point were so high a bailout looked likely.

Heavily-indebted Italy has the eurozone's fourth biggest economy and severe financial problems there would represent a fresh chapter in the 17-nation bloc's ongoing debt crisis.

Story continues below…

The European Central Bank also warned on Monday that any new Italian leader must continue reform efforts.

AFP/The Local/mry

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

20:18 December 11, 2012 by TheCrownPrince
Even the possibility of a comeback concerning Silvio B. tells me that there must be something completely wrong in italian politics. How immature and nutty can voters be, wasting their vote for this ridiculous clown? He won't be taken seriously anywhere abroad, foreign investors will abandon Italy, necessary reforms won't be made. What lunacy!
20:20 December 11, 2012 by smart2012
First berlusconi is a populistic i.... However if he has an argument is cause Verkel has screwed up by driving the eu agenda, and people do not see an end.

Last, Italy is third biggest eu economy in eu, not fourth, and it is paying a lot of money to support Europe. Why fourth?
01:59 December 12, 2012 by www.emungus.net

Courtesy is not always a good companion by the fact that sometimes it overshadows the truth . Nevertheless , can we finally dare by admitting that Italy is a failed state? No, sorry...courtesy requires, let us rephrase that statement : the land of Benito Mussolini may fall in disgrace.
05:24 December 12, 2012 by jmclewis
There should be a Club of bad Pols ....... Lets See Both Bushes, Clinton for Glass Stegal, Obama proved he could out spend Bush.... Merkel........Mr Boom Boom ...... I cannot name a good French Leaders....
10:00 December 12, 2012 by smart2012
emungus, can u express some more facts to justify your populistic statement?
10:41 December 12, 2012 by raandy
All politics by Berlusconi, he is taking advantage of the painful austerity measures and the general dislike like for the German insistance on them.
17:15 December 12, 2012 by michael4096
"...can u express some more facts to justify your populistic statement?"

From smart! Best laugh I had all day!
17:37 December 12, 2012 by www.emungus.net
Dear smart2012,

Sorry you feel it that way. I did back up that statement, here are some comparative facts :


Unemployment: 10.8%

Average gross salary: 2,521 € / 3,403 $, monthly


Unemployment: 5.4%

Average gross salary: 4,217 € / 5,692 $, monthly

(For further details, please refer to : World economic outlook database, International Monetary Fund)
18:25 December 12, 2012 by pjnt
Burlusconi makes me laugh. Italians make me laugh because they think Burlusconi isn't funny.

What a joke.
15:18 December 21, 2012 by jg.
@smart2012 "Last, Italy is third biggest eu economy in eu, not fourth, and it is paying a lot of money to support Europe. Why fourth?"

GDP: Germany, France, United Kingdom, Italy, Spain,...
Today's headlines
Student fined for spying on women via their webcams
Photo: DPA

Student from Munich fined €1,000 for spying on 32 different computers, using their webcams to take photographs, or record their keyboard history.

This is how much startup geeks earn in Germany
Photo: DPA

A comprehensive new survey of 143 startup founders shows how much you are likely to be earning at a German startup, from entry level all the way up to sitting on the board.

Man dies after beating for peeing near Freiburg church
The Johannes Church in Freiburg. Photo Jörgens Mi/Wikipedia

A middle-aged man from southern Germany has died after being attacked by a group of men who took umbrage with the fact he was urinating in the vicinity of a church.

The Local List
Seven German celebrities with uncanny doppelgängers
Former Berlin mayor Klaus Wowereit and actor Alec Baldwin. Photo: DPA; Gage Skidmore, Wikimedia Commons

Check out these seven look-a-likes of well known German figures - we admit that some are more tenuous than others...

Israel seeks to buy three new German submarines: report
A Dolphin class submarine. Photo: DPA

Israel is seeking to buy three more advanced submarines from Germany at a combined price of €1.2 billion, an Israeli newspaper reported Friday.

Here’s where people live the longest in Germany
Photo: DPA

Germans down south seem to know the secret to a long life.

More Germans identify as LGBT than in rest of Europe
Photo: DPA

The percentage of the German population which identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender is higher than anywhere else in Europe, according to a new study.

'Reichsbürger' pair attack police in Saxony-Anhalt
File photo: DPA.

A "Reichsbürger" and his wife attacked police officers on Thursday, just a day after another Reichsbürger fatally shot an officer in Bavaria.

Five things not to miss at the Frankfurt Book Fair
Photo: DPA

From consulting a book doctor to immersing yourself in an author's world with the help of virtual reality, here are five things not to miss at this week's Frankfurt Book Fair, the world's largest publishing event.

Parents who don't get nursery spot for kid entitled to pay
Photo: DPA

The Federal Court of Justice (BGH) ruled on Thursday that parents whose children don't receive placements in nursery care are entitled to compensation.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd