Brussels

EU commissioner deplores Berlusconi's defence of Mussolini

'Such voices nurture hate, leaders must stand against them'

EU commissioner deplores Berlusconi's defence of Mussolini

(see previous) Brussels, January 28 - European Union Commissioner for Home Affairs Cecilia Malmstrom on Monday said Silvio Berlusconi's defence of Benito Mussolini "nurtured hate" and called on political leaders to oppose his comments. "In European politics, in parliaments across Europe and even in some governments there are parties and voices that nurture this kind of hate," she said when asked about his comments Sunday at a ceremony in Milan for Holocaust Memorial Day. "For this reason it is necessary that all political leaders take a stance against it". Berlusconi, who is leading the centre right's campaign for next month's Italian election, said the 1938 anti-Jewish racial laws were the "worst fault" of the Fascist dictator, adding that in many other ways he "did well". The three-time Italian premier also said Mussolini had no alternative but to enter the Second World War because otherwise Germany would have dominated Europe, an assertion many historians dispute. Berlusconi also dozed during Sunday's ceremony.

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