Rift raises hopes for Prodi

Rift raises hopes for Prodi

Leading article: Blair the lobbyist?

ENFIN, un chef de gouvernment anglais qui parle le francais! Mais rappellez-vous, nos chers francais, ce que le petit caporal nous a appelles une nation de commercants. Ce matin nous nous demandons: ce M Blair, est- il vraiment notre premier ministre ou - deguise - un espece de negociant, un agent d'influence etrangere, le delegue d'une societe privee, l'enterprise internationale geree par Rupert Murdoch.

Farmers see sliver of hope

Farmers were yesterday given a glimmer of hope following the turmoil of the last few weeks, when the European Commission agreed to speed up moves to lift the ban on exports of British beef.

Communists set to revive Prodi's rule

Italy's communist leader, Fausto Bertinotti, said yesterday his party would support Prime Minister Romano Prodi's 1998 budget, effectively ending the country's political crisis.

It's not Whitehall, but it's farce

After the collapse of the Italian government, the soap opera of resolving the crisis is in full swing. What is going on? Andrew Gumbel tries to make sense of a weekend of ordinary madness.

Politician hands out free hashish

Marco Pannella, the Italian politician who was convicted last month of giving away hashish, was back at it yesterday - distributing free bags of the drug to a crowd in Rome's central Piazza Navona.

Italy facing new elections as far-left rejects budget plans

The Italian government was on the verge of collapse last night as the far-left party Rifondazione Comunista gave its final thumbs-down to the 1998 budget.

Italian opposition unite in protest over welfare cuts

Even before full details of the centre-left coalition's 1998 budget had been published, the Italian government's hard-left allies and the opposition centre-right bloc were already howling in protest.

Italy unveils its prescription for EMU status

The Italian government yesterday unveiled a package of budgetary pain aimed at meeting criteria for European monetary union on time but the measures looked more like accounting tricks than real cuts and highlighted the growing weakness of Italy's attempt to be included in the European A-stream.

Small fish, big bite

Profile; Emma Bonino; John Lichfield on the radical Italian who could put the Government on the line

Berlusconi learns to love his enemies

When Silvio Berlusconi first swept into Italian politics three years ago, his mission was "to save the country from the communists". These days, though, the people he calls communists - in reality the Social- Democrat successors to the old Communist Party known as the PDS - are some of the best friends he has.

Flat Earth: Po-faced Bossi

Italy seems to be suffering from a collective sense of humour failure over Umberto Bossi. He is the man who wants to split away the richer north from the rest, but since he can't find any linguistic or ethnic borders for the proposed independent nation of "Padania", it has been delineated in socio-economic terms, which might or might not take it almost as far south as Rome.

Italy's Olive Tree coalition begins to crack

Having taken 50 years to reach power, one might have thought the Italian left would be content to govern in peace, concentrate on lasting the full five-year parliamentary term, introduce real and lasting reforms, and above all avoid the kind of fratricidal inter-party squabbling that undid so many coalition governments in the bad old days of the Cold War.

The fishermen's unlikely friend?

PROFILE: EMMA BONINO; Europe's fisheries commissioner is not afraid to tell it like it is.

Italy's Mr Clean keeps politicians guessing

Is Italy's champion corruption-busting magistrate about to enter politics, and if so when and with whom?
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