Good Old Boy #78
'I would even argue that the G8 was quite well-placed to see off the upstart G20 - were it not for one thing. Next year it will be presided over by that one-man wrecking crew, Silvio Berlusconi, the prime minister of Italy.
Berlusconi has a “sense of humour” that makes him a uniquely disastrous chair for international organisations. His presidency of the European Union in 2003 was catastrophic. He caused uproar in the European Parliament by comparing a German politician to a Nazi concentration-camp guard. In an official photo, he made the sign of the cuckold’s horns behind the head of a Spanish minister. He opened a summit designed to discuss the future of Europe by suggesting to his fellow leaders that they discuss women and football instead. Then he turned to the chancellor of Germany, Gerhard Schroeder, and suggested that he should open the discussion since he had been married four times. Amazingly enough, Schroeder did not see the funny side.
Now Berlusconi is warming up for his presidency of the G8 with a few more wisecracks. He has complimented Barack Obama on his tan. Twice.'