07 May, 2009

Berlusconi quote of the week

Two, actually, from an interview with French television, both regarding Finland.

(1) "I love Finland and Finns, as long as they're at least 18 years old."

(If it doesn't make sense: the Italian is le finlandesi, emphasizing female Finns.)

His followup:

(2) "Now they'll say that I've broken with the Finnish government, but I remember when they wanted to take me to see something they consider precious. We left early in the morning and spent three hours to reach a wooden church built in the 1700s… something that we would tear down."

I can't decide whether to laugh or to cry. It's amazing the man hasn't yet provoked an international incident, yet I read that these quotes also appear to explain his popularity. Only a few days ago, he had to rebut his wife's public comments criticizing him for choosing young, attractive models (veline) for political offices.

Update! Finnish media claim that the story of the wooden church can't be true, because Berlusconi has never made an official visit to Finland. They may be sore because, back in 2005, Berlusconi fought to give the Italians a seat on a European Union committee on food, arguing that in Finland they ate very badly. He also claimed that he worked his "playboy magic" on the Finnish president, Tarja Halonen.

I'm not laughing. Honest!


Anonymous said...

La Repubblica is stating the church was in Iceland - but four letters out of seven isn't bad for an old man, surely?

Helsingin Sanomat has a piece on it, too. http://www.hs.fi/english/article/1135245796052

jack perry said...

Well, in Italian it's a bit longer and more complicated: finlandia vs. islanda: so you really can't fault him much, can you. ;-)

Thanks for the link. I love the comment at the end: It is quite heart-warming that we have received a large number of emails from embarrassed Italian readers apologising for their Prime Minister in no uncertain terms. We are very grateful for the support. If it is any consolation, Finland can almost certainly boast politicians occasionally capable of similar feats: as they say, "there's one in every crowd". Berlusconi's been embarrassing Italians for so long, even the Finns commiserate.