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Borg: Berlusconi guilty of 'short-term populism'

Borg: Berlusconi guilty of 'short-term populism'

Published: 09 Nov 2011 08:16 GMT+01:00
Updated: 09 Nov 2011 08:16 GMT+01:00

Sweden's finance minister Anders Borg on Wednesday gave his assessment of the Italian government's role in the EU sovereign debt crisis, accusing outgoing PM Silvio Belusconi of not having taken the situation seriously.

"It has been patently obvious that it is a government that has lost the ability to manage the debt crisis," Borg told Sveriges Television (SVT) on Wednesday morning.

"He has not been taken seriously," Borg said.

Speaking on SVT's Rapport news programme, Anders Borg accused Berlusconi of "short-term populism" which undermined the current tough economic climate in the eurozone.

"He has previously announced tax cuts despite the fact that they have both a deficit and enormous debts, he has retreated from savings programmes... and the measures that have been taken have been very cautious in relation to that required," Borg said.

Anders Borg expressed doubt that the long-serving Italian leader has taken the situation, and his responsibility in its creation, seriously enough.

The finance minister underlined that Italian problems are global problems, pointing out that the country is home to the third largest bond market.

Silvio Berlusconi finally bowed to pressure, both internal and from across the EU, and announced his departure on Tuesday evening.

"After the stability law is approved, a package which guarantees the amendments required by the eurozone, I will resign," Berlusconi said in a statement.

The raft of savings and cuts which has been demanded by the EU are now subject to a vote in both chambers of the Italian parliament and are expected to be passed during November.

Anders Borg also underlined on Wednesday that no new loans will be provided to Italy.

"They should be able to raise their taxes and cut their expenses. They also have significant assets and so should be able to reduce their debts," he said to SVT.

Peter Vinthagen Simpson (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

09:34 November 9, 2011 by eltechno
Could this sloppy use of the word "populism" cease? Please? The historical Populists of the People's Party of 1892 would NEVER have included a rich jerk like Berlusconi. NEVER!

Accusing an obscenely rich media magnate of being a populist makes about as much sense as accusing a black USA President who surrounds himself with Jewish advisors of being a Nazi. (Yes, there are some who do that too—mostly tea party types who drag their knuckles when they walk.)

So Mr. Borg, if you do not stop misusing the term populist, we will have to assume that you are an historic illiterate and discount the rest of what you say because of that.
09:50 November 9, 2011 by StockholmSam
@eltechno

Being a populist and taking advantage of populist sentiment are two distinct things. Borg does not say that Berlusconi was a populist; according to the article, Borg stated that Berlusconi took actions that were populist in nature. I see this as logical since the people were ready to string the Italian leader up by his toenails. He had to appease the angry masses somehow. A populist approach was his only option. That does not make him a populist.
09:51 November 9, 2011 by occassional
Berlusconi is a Machiavellian surrounded by sharks. He is an extrovert, self-made survivor. And if anybody thinks either Silvio or anyone in Italy gives two hoots about what people say about them, think again. Independence matters more than anything else. Even the law. Someone once said "It is not difficult to rule Italy. It is totally unnecessary."
10:06 November 9, 2011 by eppie
Borg, why didn't you say this....let's think..... 2 years ago??

Very brave to make these comments just after it has become clear that Berlusconi will step down.
10:40 November 9, 2011 by eltechno
@ StockholmSam

What exactly do you mean by "populist sentiment?" You should know that expression has an exact historical meaning and I am certain that what Berlusconi accomplished did not emerge from the Populist playbook.

The only reason I care about this is that Populism is easily the most successful Progressive movement in this country. It was partly invented by Swedish immigrants like my grandfathers who argued politics in freezing cabins while the wind howled. Some of the ideas they had were so good, they would go a LONG way towards solving some current economic dilemmas. I am sorry, I will not stand by and see this historically interesting movement slandered by pig-ignorant, arrogant, elitist, neoliberal slime like Anders Borg. I grew up around highly accomplished, highly intelligent Swedes—what the hell happened to him?
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