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FI laments govt inexperience in handling of Ukraine crisis

House caucus leader Brunetta nostalgic for Berlusconi 'giant'

04 March, 16:12
FI laments govt inexperience in handling of Ukraine crisis (See related) (ANSA) - Rome, March 4 - Renato Brunetta, House caucus leader of the opposition party Forza Italia (FI), criticised the new government's inexperience Tuesday in handling the Ukraine crisis, expressing nostalgia for what he called ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi's international clout. "I don't want to be ungenerous, but I have the impression of watching a youth team," Brunetta said of the government led by 39-year-old Matteo Renzi, who has been premier for less than a month. Brunetta said Berlusconi's relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin would have been helpful with the Ukraine file as it was in similar regional crises.

"In the past, the role played by Berlusconi...his relationship with Putin, were quite different," said Brunetta. "The role played by Italy was quite different," he added. "Berlusconi was demonised in matters of foreign policy but we can see that compared to these actors, he was a giant, he is a giant," continued Brunetta.

"I think that when a country such as Italy has three unelected premiers, this lack of democracy is also a sign of our country's lack of a role," he concluded.

His comments came as a Milan court refused to give Berlusconi permission to leave Italy for the congress of the European People's Party (EPP) of which his FI party is a member.

Berlusconi's passport was confiscated after a definitive tax-fraud conviction last year. The three-time premier, who faces several other legal tangles, was also denied a request to leave Italy for a meeting of the EPP in Brussels in December.