Napolitano calls off meeting with Germany's Steinbrueck

Social Dem chancellor candidate said 'two clowns' won in Italy

Napolitano calls off meeting with Germany's Steinbrueck

Munich, February 27 - Italian President Giorgio Napolitano called off a meeting with German centre-left SPD chancellor candidate Peer Steinbrueck in Berlin Wednesday because of the Social Democrat's statement Tuesday he was "horrified by the victory of two clowns" in Italy's elections, referring to centre-right leader Silvio Berlusconi and anti-establishment comedian Beppe Grillo. Napolitano on Wednesday slammed Steinbrueck's "two clowns" statement as "completely misplaced, if not worse," explaining why he scrapped the meeting. A spokesperson for Steinbrueck responded to the rebuff on Wednesday saying that the politician showed "understanding for Giorgio Napolitano's decision". Steinbreuck's rival conservative CDU candidate for the chancellory Manfred Kolbe told ANSA, "Peer Steinbrueck is a snob and Napolitano did extremely well to cancel the meeting". Kolbe, who is is also vice president of the German parliament's Germany-Italy Friends Group, added that Steinbrueck's words showed "arrogance typical of Steinbrueck and a number of German politicians regarding Italy. And one of the victims of this attitude is Silvio Berlusconi". Napolitano kicked off his three-day State visit by meeting German intellectuals and opinion leaders in Munich, voicing his concern for "growing populism" and anti-EU sentiment in Europe.

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