Anorak News | Axis To Grind

Axis To Grind

by | 3rd, July 2003

‘IF Europe is to have a future of total harmony, there is one overriding rule that governs its unity: do not mention the war.

‘I called him a fascist. It’s a compliment’

From proprietors of small hotels in Torquay down to the very helm of the Brussels bureaucratic machine, mentioning the battles of 60 years ago will breed hostility and division.

So it was surprised faces all round when Silvio Berlusconi, the billionaire Italian prime minister, marked his fist day as the president of the European Union by using the word Nazi in the context of a German MEP.

The Independent sets the scene, hearing Martin Schulz, leader of the German Socialists, raise the point of how Berlusconi used an immunity law to wriggle free of bribery charges levelled against him.

‘My Schulz,’ replied the keeper of European brotherhood for the next six months, ‘I know there is a producer in Italy who is making a film about Nazi concentration camps. I will suggest you for the role of commandant. You’d be perfect.’

The comment is not without its ironies. As the Telegraph says, Berlusconi is aligned with the anti-Semitic and ‘xenophobic’ Northern League of Italian politics, while it was Schultz who raised the issue of how the League’s leader, Umberto Bossi, has said that boats carrying illegal immigrants should be ‘blown out of the water’.

Bossi failed to state whether a U-Boat should be employed to do the job, but it’s apparent that the role of the Nazis is a contentious one, especially among the Italians and Germans.

Posted: 3rd, July 2003 | In: Broadsheets Comment | TrackBack | Permalink