Rome

Berlusconi says Italians risk feeling like 'prisoners'

Ex-premier says government needs 'more courage' with Germany

Berlusconi says Italians risk feeling like 'prisoners'

(ANSA) - Rome, September 25 - Ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi said in an interview published Tuesday that austerity measures and reforms imposed by Premier Mario Monti and his emergency government have created an atmosphere in which Italians risk feeling like "prisoners of the State". Berlusconi explained that unlike Monti, he would not have "increased fiscal pressure" or introduced the IMU property tax. The ex-premier's government that stepped down in November amid economic crisis abolished a similar tax during its 2008-2011 mandate. Excessive tax controls clamp down fiercely on "expenditures and therefore, the wellbeing of Italians," Berlusconi told The Huffington Post. Berlusconi was critical of Germany's treatment of Italy, saying that he "would have been less loyal" to the eurozone partner whose "hegemony dictates the rule of austerity and rigor to the other European countries". Monti's government needs "more courage," Berlusconi said. "The government has been conditioned by the (political) Left. Italy cannot return to Communism," Berlusconi added.

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