No distractions for Berlusconi now
The brouhaha in Greece last week was a gift to Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. Otherwise the front pages of business newspapers around the world would have featured:
- The rebellion brewing, perhaps already launched, in Berlusconi’s party
- Comments from Mersch suggesting the ECB could cut off purchases of Italian bonds in the secondary market
- The disdain from other world leaders about Italy’s finances and that Italy ‘volunteered’ to open its books to the IMF.
- That Berlusconi fell asleep twice during G20 meetings on Italy
- The bond market punishing Italy, driving 10-years to 6.34% after having never traded above 6% in the euro era. And the rise would have been larger, if not for the 25 bps ECB rate cut.
- That Berlusconi is facing four criminal trials, all set to resume this month.
The Italian Premier is currently fighting four trials – with charges ranging from having sex with a minor, abuse of office and perverting the course of justice – and all are due to resume later this month. If things were not bad enough for Mr Berlusconi, he learned last week that the planned release his latest album of love songs has been delayed. No, really.
The end could come as soon as Tuesday, when Berlusconi faces a budget confidence vote. More on his plight in the WSJ.