Berlusconi – Losing Potency?

Article published on Nov. 10, 2011
Article published on Nov. 10, 2011
By Elodie Romain Translation: Danica Jorden Photo: Davide Martinotti Called upon by the European Union to reduce Italy’s debt, Berlusconi was strongly encouraged to reach an agreement with his government. Pulling oneself up by one’s britches is not easy in front of the world’s principal media outlets. This time, the subject was not sexual scandals but the economic crisis.
Besides, how else can the Cavaliere find the funds? In his personal coffers, perhaps…. Both Italian and international media are predicting Mr. Berlusconi’s eventual resignation. Is he still capable of exercising his role as prime minister, or are his sexual escapades taking too much time and money?

]Whenever the press discusses the Italian government, it’s usually about the billionaire’s seemy affairs. In fact, there is often talk of his drunken parties filled with young girls. Have they been at no cost? No! In one of numerous examples, businessman Gianpaolo Tarantini spent 29,000 euros to provide prostitutes to Silvio Berlusconi. And that’s not all, as each girl received a 100 euro note directly from the hands of the Italian chief for their participation. This affair abruptly came to light last September when Berlusconi appeared in court as Mr. Tarantini’s victim, who extorted him for 850,000 euros in order not to talk. Berlusconi ‘’is not embarrassed’’ by his behavior, and according to his lawyers, ‘’the depiction given of the parties is totally baseless.’’ These libertine parties and the lawyers’ fees associated with them have cost the Cavaliere, who should be tightening his belt along with the majority of Italians who are victims of the economic crisis, dearly.


The various sexcapades have caused some priests and certain members of the Italian episcopate to raise their voices against the invasion of these sexual affairs into Italian politics. But they never name names. The Church demonstrates a semblance of authority in criticizing the Great Seducer’s acts and declaring these practices to be ‘’out of place’’ and ‘’prejudicial to (Italian) society.’’ Hypocritical? Undoubtedly, especially considering that the relationship between Berlusconi and the Catholic Church allows the Church not to pay tax on its properties. It’s easy to criticize the Cavaliere’s excessive expenses when one doesn’t pay one’s taxes. Remember that Italy’s debt is at 1.9 trillion euros, or about 120% of the country’s GNP.


Italy’s largest media outlets are held by the Cavaliere. Theses cooperatives alone have an 88% share of the Italian audience. Mediaset controls the main television channels and belongs to Fininvest, a financial empire for Berlusconi. Last July, Fininvest was forced to pay 560 million euros to CIR, held by Carlo de Benedetti, one of the Cavaliere’s principal rivals. The latter accused the former of corrupting a judge in order to gain control of the Mondadori publishing group. One more of Berlusconi’s debts to be passed onto the Italian public.

On Sunday, the European Union asked Italy to revise its retirement system by raising the retirement age from 65 to 67. At 75, it is probably a good idea for the Cavaliere to retire as well.