Berlusconi aux abois

Silvio Berlusconi, qui deviendra président de l'Union Européenne le 1er juillet, est un homme clairvoyant qui jadis aimait prendre des risques et dont les paris commerciaux s'avéraient rentables. Dans les années 1960, il a été le premier à voir que Milan, alors une ville italienne traditionnelle où les gens marchaient pour aller travailler, deviendrait une métropole moderne, entourée par des faubourgs de style américain. Il bâtit alors sa fortune dans l'expansion immobilière.

Quinze ans plus tard, Mr. Berlusconi comprit que le monopole que détenait l'état italien sur la télévision ne survivrait pas et il mit alors sur pied ce qui deviendra le premier groupe médiatique privé d'Italie. Mais il n'aurait rien pu accomplir tant dans le domaine télévisuel que dans le domaine immobilier s'il n'avait pas disposé des relations politiques adéquates. Dans les deux cas, Berlusconi l'a emporté sur ses concurrents en prenant parti pour les Socialistes, à l'époque les étoiles montantes de la vie politique italienne. Son association de longue date avec Bettino Craxi, le politicien le plus influent de Milan dans les années 1970 et le premier ministre de l'Italie dans une grande partie des années 1980, a vu le jour très tôt.

D'un autre côté, les relations politiques ne suffisent pas pour devenir politicien. En effet, passer du commerce à la politique ne faisait certainement pas partie des souhaits de Berlusconi. Son groupe médiatique, affaibli par une diversification excessive (la décision de pénétrer le marché de la distribution de détail l'avait pratiquement détruit), rencontra des difficultés dans les années 1990. Quasiment en même temps, l'ancien premier ministre Craxi s'enfuit pour la Tunisie, poursuivi par les tribunaux italiens dans le cadre d'une enquête de corruption mani pulite menée dans le vaste réseau connu sous le nom de Tangentopoli (Bribesville).

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