The newly appointed President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, harshly criticized the Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi who had refused to “take orders from the technocrats in Brussels”.
Mr Renzi was strongly defended by MEP Gianni Pittella, the leader of the PES grouping. Mr Pittella belongs to Mr Renzi’s Democratic Party.
Mr Juncker’s unusual all-out attack could actually help Mr Renzi in Italy, which according to a recent poll has become the most anti-EU Member State. Some major political parties, including the Five Stars Movement, want Italy out of the Eurozone, and Mr Berlusconi didn’t rule out such a possibility in the past.
Brussels is blamed for the long economic crisis which is attributed to the budgetary rules adopted by the European Institutions. Moreover, the sanctions applied by the EU against Russia are unpopular since they hit the Italian exports. Mr Berlusconi, a personal friend of Russian President Vladimir Putin, insists that Brussels should repair its relationship with Moscow, a stance shared also by at least some conservative Catholic pleased with Mr Putin’s anti-gay legislation.