Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Silvio Berlusconi has said that if it weren’t for the current economic sensitivity in Europe he would have fired his finance minister, Guilio Tremonti, long ago.Der Spiegel describes the relationship between the two as a “risky vendetta.” Tremonti has said it’s “impossible” to work with the Italian prime minister, but he can’t walk away, fearing that doing so will significantly deepen an already worrying financial crisis.
Recently, Berlusconi has described the finance minister as “unworthy” and “immoral” after Tremonti chose to fly to Washington to meet with the IMF and G20 rather than stay in Rome to help his “buddy” out during rough times.
Reuters reports that Berlusconi was also furious when Tremonti missed a vote last week on a corruption scandal involving a member of his party. The man under question was Marco Milanese, a former political advisor to Tremonti. The finance minister was accused of paying cash payments to Milanese for a luxury apartment earlier this year.
In what appears some form of revenge, Berlusconi failed to attend a meeting held by Tremonti today exploring ways to sell public assets and control the country’s spiraling public debt, reports the Wall Street Journal.
It now looks like this personal conflict is set to endure. Berlusconi can’t fire Tremonti; yields on Italian bonds would increase which would increase the amount of public debt that Italy already has to deal with. It’s admittedly dramatic, but perhaps there’s some truth when Tremonti stated, “If I fall, Italy will fall.”
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