Antonio Tajani

Zuckerberg Agrees to EU Parliament Grilling Over Data Scandal

Facebook Inc. Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg has agreed to face a grilling from European Union lawmakers over how the data of as many as 2.7 million Europeans could have ended up in the hands of consulting firm Cambridge Analytica. European Parliament President Antonio Tajani on Wednesday said Zuckerberg had accepted the EU institution’s invitation to travel across the Atlantic and face lawmakers in person as soon as next week. The meeting will take place in private, the assembly’s press service said. “Our citizens deserve a full and detailed explanation,” Tajani said in a statement posted on Twitter. “I welcome Mark Zuckerberg’s decision to appear in person before the representatives of 500 million Europeans. It is a step in the right direction towards restoring confidence.” The ...

Five Star Wants a Coalition Deal With Anyone But Berlusconi

The anti-establishment Five Star Movement said it’s ready to go into government with any of Italy’s major parties — except Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia. As Italy’s president starts talks with political leaders in a bid to break a monthlong deadlock, Five Star leader Luigi Di Maio proposed a government contract with either his fellow populists of the League or the ruling Democratic Party, in an interview with La7 television on Tuesday night, but he also set out his red line: no deal with Berlusconi. Di Maio insisted that he should be premier, a claim that puts him at odds with Matteo Salvini, leader of the anti-immigrant League. Luigi Di Maio Photographer: Alessia Pierdomenico/Bloomberg While Five Star is the biggest single party in the new parliament, the center-right alliance le...

Italy’s League Reaches Out to Renzi’s Party for Votes

The euroskeptic League of Matteo Salvini is reaching out to lawmakers from Italy’s center-left Democratic Party to seek support for a broad governing alliance, according to senior League officials. Envoys of the anti-migrant League, the main party in the center-right coalition which will form the biggest bloc in the next parliament, are holding informal talks with PD dissidents, according to two League officials who declined to be named discussing strategy. Spokesmen for Salvini and the PD didn’t respond to requests for comment. Matteo Salvini Photographer: Alessia Pierdomenico/Bloomberg PD leader Matteo Renzi is facing a backlash from within the ranks as he insists the party should go into opposition after the worst election result in its history. But his critics say they don’t have that ...

Italy’s Election Reaches Endgame as Berlusconi Battles Five Star

By John Follain March 3, 2018, 12:00 AM EST Italians are preparing to vote Sunday in an election that pits several shades of populists against the mainstream and which may only succeed in further clouding the political landscape. The anti-establishment Five Star Movement was on track to be the biggest single party when a polling blackout began on Feb. 17, though only Silvio Berlusconi’s center-right coalition was within reach of an outright majority. The 81-year-old media mogul has engineered a shock comeback, but only by joining forces with another populist group, the euroskeptic League, which is challenging his dominance of the Italian right. The most likely outcome is a hung parliament, which would trigger an extended period of horsetrading among the parties. Five Star leader Luigi Di M...

Berlusconi Fails to Convince Before Vote: Italy Campaign Trail

Italians go to the polls on March 4 with voters divided over the country’s relationship with the European Union, taxes and immigration. Here’s your daily guide to the latest news. The center-right coalition held a rare joint rally in Rome where Forza Italia’s Silvio Berlusconi boasted they’d win a majority. But he felt the need to implore people to actually vote, and as John Follain reports, his allies from the Brothers of Italy and the League – with whom Berlusconi has frequently clashed — didn’t look too convinced of their chances. Berlusconi pretends to wipe the forehead of Matteo Salvini, leader of the euroskeptic League, during a rally in Rome. Photographer: Alessia Pierdomenico/Bloomberg EU Parliament President Antonio Tajani told Berlusconi he’s available to be prime minister if ask...

Even for Italy, Forming a Government Will Be Tough: Scenarios

Italy is long used to managing political instability, but giving birth to the country’s 65th government since World War II looks a particularly tough order. With Sunday’s election forecast to produce a hung parliament, weeks of political uncertainty could hang over an economy burdened with a feeble recovery and a public debt mountain. Here are four possible scenarios for what might transpire: Gridlock No single party or coalition wins a parliamentary majority. Italy would still have a government, because Paolo Gentiloni remains premier. Back-room dealings start before parliament reconvenes on March 23. Lawmakers pick new speakers for the lower house and the Senate — offering the first clue to new alliances. If the search for a premier stalls, President Sergio Mattarella will be in no...

Berlusconi Is Back

Cruise-ship crooner, media mogul, soccer-club owner, prime minister, convicted fraudster, and now… kingmaker? At 81, Silvio Berlusconi has defied rivals, prosecutors and sex scandals through a series of comebacks. And as Italians prepare to vote on March 4, the four-time premier is once again center-stage with his coalition set to be the biggest bloc in the new legislature. “Berlusconi’s strength is extraordinary, he has an amazing capacity to take knocks and yet resist,” says Giovanni Orsina, author of Berlusconism and Italy: A Historical Interpretation. “It’s as if he believes that if he isn’t in the spotlight, he’s dead.” Or as Berlusconi himself put it: “I am the Jesus Christ of politics. I am a patient victim, I put up with everyone, I sacrifice myself for everyone.” As he prepa...

Berlusconi Boycotts Peace Pact as His Italian Coalition Creaks

Italians go to the polls on March 4 with voters divided over the country’s relationship with the European Union, taxes, and immigration. Here’s your daily guide to the latest news. Governing with right-wing hardliners is looking like an increasingly tricky prospect for Silvio Berlusconi. At the moment he won’t even share a stage with his supposed coalition allies.  The anti-immigrant Brothers of Italy called a rally yesterday to shore up the fractious right-wing alliance with a new pledge of unity. But, as John Follain reports, both Berlusconi and his ally-cum-rival Matteo Salvini of the Northern League failed to show. The coalition was leading in polls before a blackout kicked in on Saturday. Berlusconi appeared on a TV show in Milan Sunday when his supposed allies were holding a unity ra...

Berlusconi Coalition Shows Cracks as Leaders Skip Unity Rally

Silvio Berlusconi’s center-right coalition feuded with itself over who should be prime minister and whether the parties would stick together after Italy’s March 4 election, with both the ex-premier and his key ally snubbing a rally that had been billed as a show of unity. Just two weeks before the vote, Berlusconi and Matteo Salvini, leader of the anti-migrant and euroskeptic League, both failed to show up at an event in Rome Sunday at which they had been invited to sign a pledge to remain faithful to their alliance after the ballot. Silvio Berlusconi Photographer: Alessia Pierdomenico/Bloomberg “I don’t know why Salvini and Berlusconi chose not to take part in our demonstration, I’m perplexed,” said Giorgia Meloni, leader of the far-right Brothers of Italy, which is a member of the coalit...

Berlusconi, 81, Joins Facebook to Fight Five Star for Youth Vote

One Monday morning just before Christmas, Silvio Berlusconi walked into an elegant salon at his home near Milan to complete the preparations for a major shift in political strategy. Beneath a grand oil painting of the Italian aristocrat who once owned his villa in Arcore, long-time advisers and outside specialists were huddled round a table discussing Facebook and Twitter, according to senior members of his campaign team. Projecting laptop data onto a large screen, the team talked the 81-year-old TV mogul through likes, followers and potential lines of attack as they put the finishing touches to a three-month project to transform his campaign. Six years after he was forced from office at the height of the financial crisis, Berlusconi is back. And though the four-time premier is banned from...