Berlusconi’s way with press conferences


Prime minister Berlusconi does not hold press conferences at the end of European Council Meetings. We all know that by now. But the news is that this time he was the only leader who cancelled his press conference at the end of the G20 Summit in Seoul.

This may be quite a sensible move on his part, given the current situation he his facing in Italy.

I have personally assisted several press conferences in the margins of the G8 or G20 in my former job as an Italian advisor, and unfortunately I have to say that too many times journalists missed the opportunity to ask questions related to the real results of these Summits. Too many questions dwelled on the garbage piling up in the streets of Naples, on internal politics, on potential scandals. Very little about what Italy and the G8 or G20 are doing to combat the economic crisis, poverty in the world or climate change.

Considering the current situation in Italy, I can bet it would have happened in Seoul too.

However, Italian public opinion would benefit greatly from a break from this relentless gossip and instead was fed with something more substantive - for instance information on the decisions taken at the G20; on what Berlusconi discussed with Angela Merkel, David Cameron and Nicolas Sarkozy at the margins of the Summit; and, even most importantly, on anything Berlusconi might have discussed with Dmitri Medvedev and Recep Tayyip Erdogan. We assume energy, we wonder security, we don't know in which kind of format: an informal Italy- Russia- Turkey trialogue?

It would be interesting to know. It would also be interesting to know if Mr Berlusconi embraces the idea of a multipolar Europe (which risks making disorder a reality), or if instead he believes that the accession of Turkey to Europe is a priority - a key interest of the European Union - and if he is ready to take the lead in the EU to make it a reality, starting with the opening of the energy chapter, rather than by enhancing the bilateral attitude of having a privileged partnership.

This is why I think such a trialogue should be rather seen as an opportunity to engage in a much needed debate about Europe, Russia and Turkey's place in Europe.

So far we only know that Silvio Berlusconi, Dmitri Medvedev and Recep Tayyip Erdogan are good friends. We are still waiting to know what the three of them said to each other and if for Mr Berlusconi the accession of Turkey to the EU is considered a strategic choice, beyond words and beyond trialogues. We want the prime minister to hold a proper press conference, and we need the Italian media to take the opportunity seriously.

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