Silvio Berlusconi’s answer to Jeremy Paxman’s question ‘Did you call Angela Merkel an ‘unf**ckable lard-a**e’?
After a short period of bemusement and baffled silence, the former Italian Prime Minister finally gave the presenter a response during their Newsnight interview
Silvio Berlusconi finally answered Jeremy Paxman’s probing question about calling German Chancellor Angela Merkel an “unf**ckable lard-a**e” during a typically caustic Newsnight interview.
After a short period of bemusement and baffled silence, the former Italian Prime Minister answered: "No, I have never had problems with Angela Merkel... This accusation was made up by someone who wanted to turn Angela against me."
He went on to defend the time he once jumped out from behind a monument in Trieste and shouted “cuckoo” loudly in Merkel’s ear as she was arriving for talks held there in 2008. His excuse was that Vladimir Putin, the Russian President, had played the very same trick on him in St Petersburg just days earlier, and that “she enjoyed it”.
"When Merkel - and I really was on very good terms with her - came to Trieste, thinking of what Putin had done to me, I basically hid behind a monument and I did the same thing.
"It was funny."
Their turbulent relationship did, however, take a turn for the worse when in 2013, Berlusconi wasn’t able to follow through on an economic guarantee he had made.
"Merkel and [former French President] Sarkozy, during a press conference in October, probably Sarkozy had a journalist ask a question which said: 'Do you believe Berlusconi will deliver on his promises?'.
"Well, the two looked at each other and basically attacked my reputation and my image."
We went on to insist that his politics were based on "friendly relationships with all of my colleagues", and name dropped a host of world players he still holds dear.
"I have had long-lasting friendships with George Bush, Vladimir Putin, with Aznar, with Tony Blair - many others… So it is almost impossible not to have a friendly relationship."
Elsewhere in the interview, he addressed the scandal-plagued Italian parliament, the European Central Bank and Russia’s recent aggressions on the continent.
The interview is available to watch in full on BBC Iplayer.
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