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Wed Jan 30, 2013 6:0AM
EU Economy Commissioner Olli Rehn

EU Economy Commissioner Olli Rehn

A top European Union official has blamed Silvio Berlusconi for Italy’s financial crises, contradicting what ex-Premier has been saying during his election campaign to become premier once again. The Tuesday remark by EU Economy Commissioner Olli Rehn came after Berlusconi said that he had been the victim of financial speculation launched by German’s Deutsche Bank. According to Rehn, in 2011, Italy promised to reduce deficits and the accumulation of debt; in return, the European Central Bank intervened on the bond markets and improved the country’s financial outcome. "What happened then? The government of Berlusconi decided not to respect the commitments anymore," said Rehn. He continued by saying this has led to a drying out of lending, which smothered the country’s economic growth and resulted in a political dead-end that was later solved after Berlusconi resigned. Berlusconi’s conservatives, who were angered by what Rehn had said, stated that EU should set up a committee of inquiry into the issue. This comes ahead of Italy’s national elections, which are to be held on February 24 to 25, where Berlusconi's party is lagging behind the front-running centre-left by almost nine percent, according to a recent poll conducted by the EMG institute. CAH/PKH
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