Italy's Berlusconi sparks European Commission row
Jun 20, 2008, 16:15 GMT
Brussels - Silvio Berlusconi made a storming comeback to Brussels as Italian prime minister Friday by accusing the European Union's top officials of helping his opponents by 'talking too much.'
Berlusconi, who was taking part in his first EU summit since his re-election in April, was referring to the fact that EU commissioners often make their recommendations to member states public.
'The forecasts and recommendations that the commissioners give, and which appear in the newspapers every other day, provoke negative reactions among the citizens of the EU, who see (the commission) as a body that imposes constraints and creates problems,' Berlusconi said.
'Moreover, they create difficulties for governments because they offer ammunition to opposition parties, whether of the right or of the left, to criticize the government,' he added.
The outspoken media mogul-turned-politician has frequently courted controversy.
In one of his most famous outbursts in 2003, while presenting the Italian presidency of the EU to the European Parliament, he likened a critical German member of the European Socialist Party to a Nazi concentration camp guard.
His latest views were dismissed by the European Commission's chief, Jose Manuel Barroso, on Friday.
'The commission is an independent institution, it is not a secretariat for member states,' Barroso said.