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Schönau, Birgit

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4 articles of this author have been cited in the European Press Review so far.

Tages-Anzeiger - Switzerland | 18/11/2013

One of the two politicians has miscalculated

Berlusconi and his opponent Alfano who founded the new Nuovo Centrodestra group are each pursuing their own strategy, the liberal daily Tages-Anzeiger concludes: " Berlusconi is weakened but he won't admit defeat. He has the stronger party behind him - with Forza Italia he has the backing of two-thirds of the old PDL [Popolo della Libertà]. And he has the money; 110 million euros he's already invested in renewing his party. All he lacks is a clean record. As a convicted tax swindler Berlusconi can't run for public office. And this is the trump card for Alfano. He's hoping that without Berlusconi the Forza Italia will dissolve of its own accord. But to win votes the new right will have to join forces with the right-wing populists. Berlusconi is counting on this. Two parties will win more votes than one, he reckons. We'll see which of the two is wrong."

Tages-Anzeiger - Switzerland | 11/12/2012

Italy can decommission Berlusconi for good

The announcement by Italian ex-prime minister Silvio Berlusconi that he will run for office in the parliamentary elections caused a commotion on Europe's financial markets on Monday. But as far as the daily Tages-Anzeiger is concerned he doesn't stand a chance of winning: "Italy 2012 is a country striving for normality and paying a high price for it. … The proviso now is: grin and bear it with your head held high. The bunga-bunga wreckage is being cleared away - record unemployment at 11 percent, 30 percent of families at risk of poverty, zero growth and high taxes - and people are groaning with the effort. … Monti is relying on the Italians' sense of responsibility, Berlusconi is relying on their short memory. That's why he is running for the same reasons as in 1994: he needs to save his company from ruin - and his own skin. ... If Monti were to decide to run for prime minister as the candidate of a new centrist block this circus zombie would be left even more isolated. Very soon, perhaps in February, Italy will have the chance to vote Berlusconi out of office - it's as simple as that. And this time it would be for good, much to the relief of Europe and the markets."

Die Zeit - Germany | 13/03/2009

Birgit Schönau on the lack of criticism toward Italy

Writing in the weekly paper Die Zeit, the author and journalist Birgit Schönau criticises the passive attitudes outside Italy to the dubious policies of Prime Minister Silvio Bersconi: "Italy has been abandoned like a drowning ship. A country without a future and without hope, without a past and devoid of shame. A country with neither government nor opposition. A country where everything or nothing is possible, a country like a portent of worse things to come. That's what can happen when the judiciary no longer guarantees people's rights and the television doesn't provide the smallest snippet of information. That's what it's like when a founding member of the EU distances itself from democracy and no one, not a single European, dares open their mouth. When Berlusconi formed his first government in 1994 government ministers in Belgium and Greece refused to shake their neofascist colleague's hand. That's all over and done with, everything's back to normal. Today the diplomats go down into the basement to shake their heads. ... There doesn't seem to be any alternative, any way out. An entire nation sits and gapes, waiting to see what Berlusconi and the Berlusconians will think up next. No one can stop them any more, the landslide course was set long ago. But if we outside of Italy started to take these developments seriously instead of just considering them typically Italian it would at least be a first step in the right direction."

Süddeutsche Zeitung - Germany | 03/09/2008

Football for billionaires

The daily Süddeutsche Zeitung expresses concern about the influence exerted by wealthy investors on Europe's football leagues. "In total 450 million euros were spent on Italy's transfer market and - thanks to the oil and gas reserves in Abu Dhabi and Russia - even more in England. The Spanish league and the [top German division] the Bundesliga cannot keep up with this - perhaps because they do not have the advantages of a head of government like [Italian Prime Minister] Silvio Berlusconi. He invited Chelsea's owner Roman Abramovich to lunch on the Island of Sardinia on a blue August day. ... Two days later [striker] Andre Schevchenko was signed up with AC Milan again. The Italians have been able to keep foreign investors in football at arm's length so far. ... Only Berlusconi and Inter's [the Milan football club] petrol tycoon Massimo Moratti can ... hold their own with Abramovich, but the much poorer competition doesn't want to be left behind. ... No matter what the cost."

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