It is difficult to find anyone in Brussels who is enthusiastic about the likely return to power of Silvio Berlusconi in Italy. When you mention his 2001-2006 premiership, and especially the way he ran Italy’s European Union presidency in July-December 2003, you sometimes see that rarest of sights – a Eurocrat shuddering in revulsion.
But if Berlusconi wins the elections forced by the collapse of Romano Prodi’s government, I predict interesting times ahead. Not because Berlusconi will once more make himself an outcast by comparing German members of the European parliament to Nazi concentration camp guards. Rather, because it is in Brussels that his massive conflict of interest, between his political role and his position as Italy’s pre-eminent media tycoon, may at long last be challenged. Read more