Politics.co.uk Blog

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Thanks, Silvio

England's debt of gratitude for one very special Italian is, as I speak, being piled higher and higher this evening.

I don't mean Fabio Cappello, of course, despite his magnificent efforts in getting England through to the finals of the World Cup in South Africa.

No - I mean Silvio Berlusconi, the Italian prime minister, who has very graciously endorsed Tony Blair's candidacy to be president of the newly revamped European Commission.

Blair was great pals with Berlusconi when the former was in Downing Street and so the endorsement in itself is no surprise.

What is up for debate is the extent to which Blair's campaign will be boosted by Berlusconi's backing against EU arch-bore Jean-Claude Juncker.

The Italian PM, who has had a torrid 2009 defending himself against all manner of sex scandal allegations, now finds himself facing prosecution while in office.

Could it be his endorsement is the kiss of death for Blair? How will the uncertain Angela Merkel react? All Europe is on tenterhooks.

And anyway - has anyone asked Blair whether he endorses Berlusconi? We suspect the former prime minister wouldn't offer much more in response than a cringeworthy "no comment".

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