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Tamaño letra
BERLUSCONI Y SU SALUD

Cable sobre el estado de las relaciones entre EE UU e Italia

La encargada de negocios de la Embajada en Roma define a Berlusconi, a propósito de la asistencia de Obama a la cumbre del G-8 en L'Aquila, como un "dirigente inconsistente"

ID: 214272
Date: 2009-06-27 08:22:00
Origin: 09ROME755
Source: Embassy Rome
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
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C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 ROME 000755

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/25/2019
TAGS: PGOV, PREL, IT
SUBJECT: SCENESETTER FOR THE PRESIDENT'S PARTICIPATION IN
THE G8 L'AQUILA SUMMIT, JULY 8-10

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Classified By: Charge d'Affaires Elizabeth Dibble for Reason 1.4 (b)
and (d)

Mr. President, welcome to L'Aquila.

1. (C) BEGIN SUMMARY: This G8 Summit in L'Aquila is the
culmination of a busy year for the Italian G8 Presidency.
Prime Minister Berlusconi is very pleased to host this event,
to host you, and to demonstrate his role as elder statesman
of the G8 "club." In Italy, all eyes will be on Berlusconi
and how he handles this summit, which comes while the Italian
and foreign press are full of lurid allegations involving his
personal life. With members of Berlusconi's party fearing
that new allegations will come out before or during the
summit, the Prime Minister is hoping to use the event to
demonstrate that he is respected internationally.

2. (C) Italy has fielded an overly-ambitious G8 agenda in
2009, addressing global financial stability (while
acknowledging G20 primacy in this area), sustainable
development (particularly with regard to Africa), climate,
energy security, Afghanistan/Pakistan, non-proliferation,
piracy, food security and global trade. Forging a consensus
on these issues has been a painstaking process but Italy has
done its best to channel its unwieldy ambitions into an
outcome that is acceptable to its G8 partners and which lays
the groundwork for effective future action. That said, a
proliferation of issues and an ever-expanding roster of
invitees has characterized the Italian effort, detracting
from the cohesiveness of the event, and perhaps from the
Italians' ultimate goal of ensuring that the G8 remain
relevant. END SUMMARY.

3. (C) Mr. President, welcome to the G8 Summit in L'Aquila.
PM Berlusconi has been looking forward for months to playing
host to his third G8 Summit. He is also looking forward to
seeing you again after your very positive June 15 meeting in
Washington. The Summit was originally scheduled to take
place on the island of La Maddalena, off the coast of
Sardinia, and construction on the Summit venue was well
underway when in April 2009 Berlusconi announced that the
Summit would be moved to L'Aquila, site of the April 6, 2009
earthquake that killed 298 and left 65,000 displaced.
Berlusconi's rationale was that the event would bring
much-needed revenue to the stricken area and impart to the
Summit a "sober" tone more in tune with the current austere
economic times than the resort-studded coastline of Sardinia.
L'Aquila, a beautiful medieval city nestled in the heart of
the Appenine Mountains, is still recovering from the April 6
quake. Many residents are still living in tents and historic
buildings in the downtown core are held together by steel
bands as crews work around the clock to rebuild.

-----------------------------------------
President Berlusconi's Political Fortunes
-----------------------------------------

4. (C) PM Silvio Berlusconi is currently embroiled in
scandals concerning his private life, including allegations
of improper sexual relationships. In turn, Berlusconi has
aggressively gone on the offensive, blaming this situation on
a plot orchestrated by international and domestic enemies in
an effort to smear his name prior to the G8 Summit.
Historically, Berlusconi's many domestic opponents have
chosen to launch their "attacks" during high-profile
international conferences being held in Italy: in 1994, at

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the Naples UN ministerial on transnational crime, Berlusconi
was charged with corrupting the Italian financial police; in
2001, Milan judges charged him with tax fraud shortly before
he hosted the G8 in Genoa (he was not convicted of either
charge). Now press and political circles in Rome are buzzing
with potential new dramatic revelations. Traditionally the
Italian electorate has been disinterested in international
attitudes towards Italy's leaders, and has been unmoved by
peccadilloes in the personal lives of its politicians.
However, the salaciousness of the charges against Berlusconi,
and the growing impression that he is not taken seriously
abroad has heightened the importance of this summit for the
Prime Minister. He almost certainly sees it as an opportunity
to recover his public persona abroad, while dramatically
demonstrating his role as an international statesman at home.
Given the intense importance that this G8 summit has now
taken for domestic politics, any Berlusconi gaffes or
perceived snubs by other world leaders will receive
tremendous attention by the Italian media.

-----------
The Economy
-----------

5. (C) Berlusconi is vulnerable to being seen by the public
as failing to step up to the real economic problems
confronting Italy. The global economic crisis may be getting
ready to bite harder here - some observers are predicting a
"double dip" recession. Savings are already being run down,
credit is both more expensive and increasingly harder to
obtain and unemployment continues to tick upward. Italy's
economic growth rate -- which was relatively low even before
the crisis -- has dropped precipitously owing to sharp
contractions in its export markets and falling domestic
demand. Unemployment is expected to exceed eight percent
this year and to rise further in 2010. Government tax
revenues are, not unexpectedly, off sharply. Italy's already
high level of government debt and the debt ceilings that come
with euro membership significantly limit the government's
ability to provide fiscal stimulus for the economy.

----------
The Summit
----------

6. (C) This G8 Summit is the culmination of a busy year for
the Italian G8 Presidency. Italy will host a record nine G8
Ministerial Meetings this year throughout Italy, and will
have hosted over 80 G8 Sherpa, Sous-Sherpa, Political
Director and Working Group meetings by the time the L'Aquila
Summit begins.

7. (C) While as of June 26, the final agenda was still being
worked out, Italian G8 Sherpa, MFA Secretary General
Giampiero Massolo, publicly touted the G8's main priorities
this week as "promoting the global agenda" (defined as the
"global standard" and a "detax proposal") and "demonstrating
that the G8 still makes sense." The reality is that efforts
to refine the agenda and offer a clear focus are coming late:
Italy's Presidency has been characterized by a proliferation
of themes, the sheer number of which has diluted the clarity
of any eventual G8 message. This failure to focus their G8
message may have been due in part to Italy's internal
disorganization throughout the process, and desire to cover
the waterfront on possible issues of global relevance. While
the Italians had earlier hopes of "deliverables" (e.g.,

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anti-piracy) that have run into immovable objections, it
seems they do not at this point have substantial objectives
on G8 issues, and have viewed their role as principally to
shepherd discussions to agreement.

8. (C) The proliferation of themes has been matched by an
ever-expanding number of invitees. In keeping with recent G8
practice, in addition to the G8 and the EU, Italy is inviting
to the Summit the "Outreach 5" countries of the "Heiligendamm
Process" (China, India, Brazil, Mexico and South Africa), the
countries participating in the Major Economies Forum (MEF) on
Energy and Climate (G8 Outreach 5 South Korea, Australia
and Indonesia) and the African countries of the NEPAD group
(New Partnership for African Development -- Libya, Egypt,
Algeria, Senegal, Nigeria and Ethiopia). In addition, Italy
has invited Egypt to the Outreach 5 session, Denmark to the
MEF Session (in its capacity as host of the December 2009 UN
Climate Change Conference) as well as Spain and the
Netherlands, making this the biggest G8 Summit ever and
surpassing the G20 in size.

9. (C) Many G8 partners have been critical of the size and
scope of this G8, as well as of Italy's occasional preference
for form over substance and its at times lackadaisical
approach to crafting G8 statements. Italy's ambitious agenda
may have been driven in part by its fear that the G8 would
become irrelevant on Italy's watch. French President
Sarkozy's public questioning of the G8's relevance and UK PM
Gordon Brown's successful bid to make the G20 the premier
leaders' forum for addressing the global economic crisis have
contributed to this concern, and have spurred Italy to expand
G8 "outreach" to make it more inclusive and thematically
wide-ranging. This tendency has its drawbacks and its
benefits -- Italy has been very open to U.S. efforts to
highlight the importance of the Major Economies Forum this
year, for instance, even though to do so may steal the
spotlight from the G8 sessions.

-------
Comment
-------

10. (C) This year's G8 Summit has evolved via something of a
"bottom up" approach due to lack of focused leadership from
the top. The chaotic development of various themes has
resulted from the at-times competing interest of key
political players and Ministers, each seeking to make a
splash via an important, but often ill-prepared, initiative.
As the event approaches, PM Berlusconi is fully engaged,
viewing the summit as an opportunity to show himself a
statesman and showcase Italy. Italian officials from the
outset and throughout planning for the event have been eager
to accommodate and support USG priorities, wishing to be in
lockstep with our policies wherever possible. PM Berlusconi
returned elated from his meeting with you in Washington, and
there was a collective sigh of relief across the board that
warm relations with the US were intact despite the change of
administration. Your visit has special meaning to the
Italian government and public, and Italian officials will
work with you and your staff to make this event a success.

11. MINIMIZE CONSIDERED

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