Italy declared a national day of mourning this Wednesday to honor former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, who passed at the age of 86 on Monday. Despite his controversial life, world leaders have offered messages of condolences to his family and the Italian people.
Few of those offering condolences were true friends. The European Union even attempted to stage a coup against Berlusconi to replace him with Goldman Sach’s Mario Monti in 2011 after interest rates on Italian government bonds peaked to record highs. The ECB pumped in massive amounts of money to fund the Italian banks who were now able to buy Italian government bonds. This calls into question the attack upon Berlusconi and the Italian high court upholding his sentence to prison for in tax fraud case.
He was compared to the likes of Donald Trump, constantly under attack for his outspoken views in both politics and his personal life. During his final years, Silvio urged the West to stop fanning the flames of war in Ukraine. He was criticized for having a friendship with Vladimir Putin. He also said in a leaked recording that Russian ministers believe they are at war with the West because of the funding to Ukraine. “For me, Silvio was a dear person, a true friend. I have always sincerely admired his wisdom, his ability to make balanced, far-sighted decisions even in the most difficult situations,” Putin said upon Silvio’s death.
His enemies now offer support. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen stated, “”He led Italy in a time of political transition and since then continued to shape his beloved country. I extend my condolences to his family and the Italian people.” Mario Draghi now calls him “an absolute protagonist of the Italian public life for the past 50 years.” Even rival leader of the Democratic Party, Elly Sclein, offered support, “”With the death of Silvio Berlusconi an era comes to an end. Everything has divided us and divides us from his political vision, but the respect that is humanly due to one who was a protagonist in the history of our country remains. The deepest condolences on behalf of the Democratic Party.”
As with Trump, he became more popular among his base after overcoming scandals. Love or hate him, the people generally agree that Berlusconi loved his nation.