World Bulletin / News Desk
Italy should leave the euro unless the European Central Bank agrees to pump more cash into the economy and guarantee government debts, former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said on Friday.
"We have to go to Europe and say forcefully that the ECB should start printing money," Berlusconi said in an entry on his Facebook page.
"Otherwise, if it doesn't, we should have the strength to say 'ciao, ciao' and leave the euro, while remaining in the EU, or to say to Germany that it should leave the euro if it doesn't agree," he said.
Berlusconi, still facing trial on charges of paying for sex with an underaged prostitute, has had little involvement in day-to-day political life since resigning last year after Italy came close to a Greek-style debt crisis.
"My 'crazy idea' is that the Bank of Italy should print euros or print our own currency," he said.
His comments come as Italy's fractious political parties begin manoeuvering ahead of elections in 2013 with his own centre-right People of Freedom (PDL) party in disarray after heavy losses in local polls last month.
The May local elections underscored growing rejection of the mainstream parties with big gains for the Five Star Movement led by Beppe Grillo, a rough-tongued comic who calls politicians "diarrhoea" and also wants to see Italy pull out of the euro.
The latest opinion poll by the Ipsos polling institute this week showed the PDL trailing both the centre-left Democratic Party (PD) and the Five Star movement with just 16.8 percent support.
But he has given indications recently that he is preparing to take a more active role as next year's elections approach, proposing last month to change Italy's government system into a French-style elected Presidency.
"I don't remember a more difficult moment than this in my life. People have really lost confidence," he said on Facebook. "What move can change the recessionary spiral?"
With support for the technocrat government of Prime Minister Mario Monti falling as the austerity measures imposed to combat the crisis begin to bite deeply, support for the euro has also begun to weaken.
A poll this week by the Washington-based Pew research centre showed 44 percent of Italians thought the euro had been damaging for Italy.
Berlusconi has a record of making provocative suggestions which are subsequently quietly dropped but his comments on the euro correspond with an increasingly critical tone against the euro by other parties.
His comments on the euro were immediately welcomed by his estranged former allies in the Northern League, who oppose the Monti government and have long been sceptical of the single currency.
"As the crisis worsens it is right to prepare for the collapse of the system, which would take our country out of the euro," the League's deputy parliamentary head Maurizio Fugatti said in a statement.
Much lawmaking in Europe, including a sweeping overhaul of banking, is wrapped up in talks between diplomats and lawmakers with no public record of who attended or what was said
Thousands of workers at a factory in Dongguan in the Pearl River Delta run by Hong Kong-listed Yue Yuen Industrial Holdings , the world's largest shoe maker, have been on strike for more than 10 days
Russian Economy Minister Alexei Ulyukayev said last week that Russia could launch a dispute at the world trade body to challenge U.S. sanctions.
A Gazprom source said the $11.4 billion was in addition to the $2.2 billion that Naftogaz already owes for supplies in 2013 and 2014 so far.
Tech giant Apple reported Wednesday a 4.6 percent increase to $45.6 billion in quarterly revenue, beating market expectations after selling 43.7 million iPhones.
The six-day meeting is expected to discuss the CFTA's objectives, the principles that will guide negotiations for the free trade area, and the institutional arrangements needed to conduct negotiations.
Russia has proposed from European Union Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger for a three-way meeting on gas between Russia
The southern African country, which ditched its hyper-inflated local currency in 2009, is facing a serious dollar crunch as a result of lack of foreign donor support and investment
The European Commission, in charge of policing member states' public finances, is expected to respond to French projections in early June after European parliamentary elections
The Australian purchase is a signal of confidence in the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) programme, which is about 70 percent over budget and years behind schedule
Executives say a plan is needed to tackle surging inflation as economic recession looms.
An agreement between the United States and Japan is crucial for setting the tone for other countries engaged in the TPP
The pipeline was closed as a precaution following the discovery of the fuel store
Unfair pricing which threatens U.S. domestic industry brings additional taxes to Turkish and Mexican companies.
With unemployment near 11 percent and growth sluggish, Valls must strike a balance between reassuring EU partners and investors about France's deficits
"Regardless of how the stand-off over Ukraine develops, one lesson is clear: excessive dependence on Russian energy makes Europe weak," Tusk argues