Czech, French, German and local media on Berlusconi's conviction

Article published on Aug. 2, 2013
Article published on Aug. 2, 2013

Italy's highest court convicted Silvio Berlusconi of tax fraud on Thursday. After dozens of trials, this is the first definitive conviction for Italy's ex-prime minister. The judiciary is finally putting paid to Berlusconism, some commentators write delightedly. Others are dismayed that Berlusconi could not be stopped by political means 

‘Verdict spells end of illiberal and un-western views of conservatives’ - La Repubblica, Italy

The myth of super-entrepreneur Silvio Berlusconi has finally been shattered, the left-liberal daily La Repubblica writes: ‘The verdict is final, the crime has been proven. The whole world now knows that Berlusconi cheated on the tax authorities, his company, its shareholders and the market to build up a illegal money reserve abroad which he then used to manipulate another market: the extremely precarious political market. Nothing is left of the Titanic myth nurtured by populist surges and economic abnormalities. But above all the court's verdict spells the end of the illiberal and un-western views of the conservatives, who see politics as a territory for abuse and violations legitimised by a charismatic leader who by definition is so 'innocent' that he escapes all the controls of legitimacy and legality’ (Ezio Mauro) 

Read more from La Repubblica

‘Berlusconi a player who couldn't care less about reasons of state’ - Die Welt, Germany

After several trials that came to nothing, Silvio Berlusconi has been convicted without further appeal for the first time. The judiciary has finally stood up to the former prime minister, but the fact that he remains a political force is a burden on all Europe, the conservative daily Die Welt complains: 'Berlusconi is Berlusconi: a player who couldn't care less about reasons of state. However there is a left opposition party in Italy. The 'democratic party' which is up in arms against Berlusconi with the support of practically all the country's intellectuals. Loud, but unsuccessful. This is Italy's real plight. What sort of country is incapable of getting rid of an egomaniac dazzler like Berlusconi politically (not legally) though it's on the brink of disaster? In Italy, where in 1957 the foundations were laid for a united Europe, Europe's future now hangs in the balance. European integration is a blessing, but it can also be a curse. Italy has long been at pains to prove the latter’ (Thomas Schmid) 

Read 'Berlusconi verurteilt – aber alle Fragen offen' on Die Welt

‘Spectre of instability returning’ - Hospodářské noviny, Czech Republic

As noteworthy as it is that the Italian judiciary brought a verdict of guilty against the most powerful man in the country, the political and economic repercussions of the verdict don't bear thinking about, the liberal business daily Hospodářské noviny points out: 'The man who has been convicted is the boss of one of the two major parties - which are ruling the country together right now. Italy will have to see if it can absorb the political and perhaps economic consequences of the verdict or whether the voters must be called to the ballot again. There were dozens of elections in Italy after the war, so they're nothing special - if it wasn't for the memories of the past year. The continent's fourth largest economy was threatened by the eurozone's financial and debt crisis at the time. So the verdict from Rome also conjures up the spectre of the instability returning’ (Adam Černý) 

Read more from Hospodářské noviny

‘The man is a phenomenon’ - Le Figaro, France

Berlusconi has hitherto been immune to criticism but for the first time he has been forced to take a real beating, the conservative daily Le Figaro observes: 'A setback, a defeat. Until now he had managed to escape the claws of justice. Whether you like it or not, the man is a phenomenon, as you would say about an athlete. He remains popular in his own country, although his star has waned somewhat in recent years. Neither his wild parties nor his escapades in bed have put his legitimacy in question. Regular criticism from his European partners, above all German chancellor Angela Merkel, hasn't done anything to lessen his credibility at home. The results of his term in office are nevertheless modest. But you have to admit: no one else can do the job any better in the chaos on the other side of the Alps’ (Yves Thréard) 

Read more from Le Figaro

28 countries, 300 medias, 1 press review on cafebabel.com exclusively courtesy of the euro|topics team