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Berlusconi brushes off 'EPP endorsement' of Monti

Suggests Daul's statement self-serving

16 January, 18:43
Berlusconi brushes off 'EPP endorsement' of Monti (ANSA) - Rome, January 16 - The endorsement of Mario Monti as future Italian premier by a leading European politician was purely self-serving, ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi scoffed Wednesday.

Berlusconi, leader of the right-leaning People of Freedom (PdL) party, shrugged off the endorsement of Monti made one day earlier by Joseph Daul, caucus leader of the centre-right European People's Party (EPP) in the European Parliament. "He is just one of the 14 deputy speakers of the EPP," said Berlusconi, campaigning for election in next month's national Italian vote.

"Daul is just one of the EPP's 14 deputy speakers. Maybe he has personal ambitions," and is seeking an alliance with Monti, former European commissioner, for his own gain, added Berlusconi.

He also suggested that Monti was too close to Germany, another reason he has been popular with some European leaders.

In the same vein, Berlusconi dismissed suggestions he has had personal problems with other European leaders including EP Speaker and Socialist caucus chief Martin Schultz - with whom he once famously crossed swords in the EP - and Jean-Claude Junker, Prime Minister of Luxembourg and head of the Euro Group of economy and finance ministers.

The pair, along with Daul, were not "respected protagonists" in Europe, said Berlusconi.