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Italy and the European Union
In the meantime, since he knows little about foreign affairs, Mr Berlusconi will probably listen a lot more to Mr Tremonti, who is widely thought to have an eye on the top job if anything should happen to the incumbent.
A chubby, bespectacled tax lawyer who has in the past advised Mr Berlusconi in a private capacity, Mr Tremonti is the architect of Italys new foreign-policy approach, and may now be the most influential man in government. He and Mr Ruggiero disliked each other.
In domestic politics, Mr Tremonti was partly responsible for locking the impulsive and populist Mr Bossi, who has been rudest of all the governments ministers about the EU, more securely into Mr Berlusconis coalition-which the Northern Leaguer destroyed when the right was last in power, briefly, under Mr Berlusconi, in 1994.
It is unfair to describe me as an anti-European, says Mr Tremonti. I am passionately pro-Europe. Its just that I dont belong to the Single European Thought Party. And the euro? It, he observes without joy, has been created by technocrats, through enlightened despotism.
The victory of Silvio Berlusconi a major crisis for the stability of the euroand his conservative coalition in the Italian elections may pose the biggest challenge yet to the young euro currency, many European Union policymakers maintain.
Mr. Berlusconi, a media tycoon, has vowed to enact steep tax cuts that may shatter the strict debt and deficit limits deemed necessary to keep 12 euro-zone economies sticking to the same course.
While many politicians in Europe are troubled by the anti-immigrant views of Mr. Berlusconi's rightist partner, the Northern League, led by Umberto Bossi, economists say they are far more worried about his economic program. . "This could quickly turn into a major crisis for the stability of the euro," a senior EU official said.
leader ready to rock the EU boat