-- Berlusconi is the most dangerous political phenomenon in Europe. He represents the most serious threat to democracy in western Europe since 1945. It might be argued that the far right as represented by such openly racist and xenophobic figures as Jean-Marie Le Pen and Jörg Haider poses a more serious danger, but such figures remain relative outsiders in the European political scene. Berlusconi does not. During his two spells as prime minister there has been a very serious erosion of the quality of Italian democracy and the tone of public life.
Democracy depends upon the separation of political, economic, cultural and judicial power. Berlusconi's ownership of the major television channels - and his control of the state-owned network, Rai, during his premiership - together with his willingness to use this media power for his own naked political ambitions, has undermined democracy. Further, he has changed the laws of the land at will - using his majority in parliament - to protect his personal interests and save himself from the courts.The connection between Berlusconi and Italian fascism is not difficult to decipher. --