German politicians have reacted furiously to this front page in the Italian daily Il Giornale with its headline “Fourth Reich” above a picture of Chancellor Angela Merkel raising her hand in a vaguely fascist salute.
The paper is owned by the brother of Italy’s former prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, and the article – published on Friday – was written by its editor-in-chief, Alessandro Sallusti.
It says: “Since yesterday, Italy is no longer in Europe, it is in the Fourth Reich.” It argues that Germany has won while Italy, Europe and the euro have lost. It blames Merkel for failing to allow the European central bank to assist the Italian economy.
Il Giornale has been at the centre of controversy with Germany before. Two months ago, after Italy beat Germany in the Euro 2012 football semi-final, the paper published a picture of Merkel under the headline “Ciao, ciao culona” (Bye bye lard arse).
The paper has also laid into Italy’s prime minister Mario Monti – who replaced Berlusconi – for not doing enough to stand up to Germany. It compared him to the appeasing British prime minister Neville Chamberlain who declared in 1938 he had “secured peace in our time” after meeting Adolf Hitler.
This article originally appeared on guardian.co.uk