It appears that Berlusconi regards the EU’s parliament as a possible way back into the corridors of power and is set to run for a seat in the 23-26 May European elections.
Berlusconi, as leader of the centre-right Forza Italia party, was three times an Italian prime minister, and recently claimed to light a candle every day while praying for the UK to change its mind on Brexit. But he has been without a parliamentary seat after his 2013 election to the Senate was invalidated because of his fraud conviction. Citing his good conduct, a court last year ruled that he could once again run for public office.
The Milan-born businessman has consistently sought to convince the deputy prime minister, Matteo Salvini, to drop his coalition with the Five Star Movement (M5S) since the last Italian elections. Forza Italia and Salvini’s party have formed coalitions in the past.
As he made the announcement, Berlusconi hit out at the anti-establishment M5S, currently in government with the anti-immigration League.
“We need to change this government, which includes Five Star, that is led by people who have no experience and no competence,” he said. “They are like the gentlemen of the communist left of 1994, and in addition they have this big problem.”
Some of Berlusconi’s most combustible moments as Italian prime minister occurred on the European stage.
While leaders engaged in discussions on the location of a new EU food standards agency in 2001, he backed Parma over Finland, saying it was “synonymous with good cuisine – the Finns don’t even know what prosciutto is”.
During a group photo of EU leaders in 2002 he made the horned gesture behind a Spanish minister. In 2003, he suggested that Martin Schulz, then an MEP and leader of Germany’s Social Democratic party who later became president of the European parliament, should take a film role as a Nazi concentration camp leader.