THE ART OF DIPLOMACY….Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has been on trial pretty much forever on various charges of bribery and corruption, but ever since he became prime minister he’s been pushing through bills that would exempt him from prosecution. He succeeded in passing the last of these, thus making himself completely and entirely above the law, a few days ago, just in time for the beginning of Italy’s presidency of the EU.
Happy days, right? Not quite. In his first appearance as president of the EU, a German member of the European parliament criticized Berlusconi’s extensive ownership of Italian media companies and Berlusconi lost his cool:
“Mr. Schulz, I know there is in Italy a man producing a film on the Nazi concentration camps. I would like to suggest you for the role of leader. You’d be perfect,” Berlusconi exclaimed to jeers in the chamber.
What a disgusting thing to say. Italians everywhere must be cringing.
UPDATE: Henry Farrell has some additional background on this plus some analysis of whether it matters. Short answer: yes it does.