| 20 April 2024, Saturday |

Silvio Berlusconi’s memorable quotes and quips

Silvio Berlusconi, the flamboyant four-time Italian prime minister and wealthy media magnate who died on Monday at the age of 86, had a sense of humour that frequently got him in trouble.

Here are some of his notable comments and quips:

DECEMBER 2022: Berlusconi promises his Monza soccer club that if they beat a prominent Serie A opponent, he would bring “a bus of whores into the locker room.”

OCT 2022: Despite Western outrage following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Berlusconi stayed firm by his old buddy, President Vladimir Putin: “Putin for my birthday sent me 20 bottles of vodka and a very sweet letter.” I responded with bottles of Lambrusco and a similarly nice message.”

NOV 2010: “As always, I work without interruption and if occasionally I happen to look a beautiful girl in the face, it’s better to like beautiful girls than to be gay,” he tells a meeting at a motorcycle industry show in Milan.

OCT 2010: Berlusconi is condemned by the Vatican’s official newspaper after he tells a joke about a Jew who charges fellow Jews to hide in his basement from the Nazis, without telling them World War Two is over.

APRIL 2009: During a visit to survivors of an earthquake in the central Abruzzo region, who were staying in emergency tents, Berlusconi says: “They should look at it as a weekend of camping.”

NOV 2008: Berlusconi hails Barack Obama as “handsome, young and also suntanned”, after he was elected the United States’ first Black president.

FEB 2006: “I am the Jesus Christ of politics,” Italian media quoted Berlusconi as telling supporters. “I am a patient victim, I put up with everyone, I sacrifice myself for everyone.”

JUNE 2005: Berlusconi says he used his charms to persuade Finland’s president, Tarja Halonen, to give up her country’s claim to host the new European Food Safety Authority. “I had to use all my playboy tactics, even if they have not been used for some time,” he said. Finnish ambassador protests.

SEPT 2004: “Mussolini never killed anyone. Mussolini sent people on holiday in (internal) exile,” Berlusconi tells Britain’s Spectator magazine, replying “yes” when asked if he thought the World War Two dictator was “benign”.

JULY 2003: “Mr Schulz, I know there is in Italy a man producing a film on the Nazi concentration camps. I would like to suggest you for the role of Kapo. You’d be perfect,” Berlusconi told German lawmaker Martin Schulz, who was heckling him during his debut at the European Parliament. A Kapo was a concentration camp inmate who was given privileges for supervising prisoner work gangs.

JUNE 2003: “One citizen is equal to another (in the eyes of the law) but perhaps this one is slightly more equal than the others, given that 50% of Italians have given him the responsibility of governing the country,” he says, referring to himself, during an appearance at a corruption trial in Milan.

FEB 2002: During a group photograph at an informal EU summit in Spain, Berlusconi raises two fingers behind the head of the Spanish foreign minister Josep Pique in the traditional Latin gesture for a cuckold.

OCT 2001: Berlusconi causes outcry in the Muslim world when he says the West “should be conscious of the superiority of our civilization.” He said that while the West has a value system “that has given people widespread prosperity in those countries that embrace it, and guarantees respect for human rights and religion… This respect certainly does not exist in the Islamic countries.”

  • Reuters