» Thursday, March 4, 2004

PM visit to Rome

The Prime Minister’s Official Spokesman (PMOS) advised journalists that the Prime Minister was in Rome today to meet with Prime Minister Berlusconi. This was the latest in a series of contacts between the two leaders. Today was an opportunity for them to look forward to the European Council later this month. They had last met at the previous European Council in Brussels.

Asked what the two leaders would discuss, the PMOS said that they would talk about the wider European agenda, such economic reform and the latest position on the European Constitution in the light of the huge amount of work that the Italians had done while holding the EU Presidency in the second half of last year. The Prime Minister had already paid tribute to Prime Minister Berlusconi’s skill and effort in trying to navigate a way through the issue, despite the failure to reach an agreement for reasons which had been well documented. No doubt there would also be discussion about the trilateral meeting last month between the Prime Minister, Chancellor Schroeder and President Chirac. Asked if the purpose of the meeting in Rome today was to placate Prime Minister Berlusconi after he had not been invited to the trilateral, the PMOS said he wouldn’t characterise it in that way. It was part of an ongoing dialogue with a very close European ally. Asked if the Prime Minister would use the meeting today to reassure the Italian Prime Minister that the UK, France and Germany were not trying to dictate the European policy agenda, the PMOS said that as we had pointed out at the time, the trilateral had not been about creating a lead group in Europe. There was nothing surprising about European leaders meeting bilaterally and trilaterally. Last month had certainly not been the first time the Prime Minister had met Chancellor Schroeder and President Chirac in this way. Asked if today’s meeting had been set up after the trilateral, the PMOS said yes. The Prime Minister had spoken to Prime Minister Berlusconi by phone shortly after the trilateral had taken place when both had agreed to meet up today.

Briefing took place at 11:00 | Search for related news


  1. Following Mr Berlusconi’s recent visit to Libya, it is to be hoped that the Italian PM brought Mr Blair up to speed on the relinquishing by Libya of its WMD.

    Comment by Patrick Haseldine — 4 Mar 2004 on 9:12 pm | Link
  2. Do you think Berlusconi brought some back with him? He could store them in Iraq….

    Comment by Chris Lightfoot — 5 Mar 2004 on 10:31 am | Link
  3. Maybe Blair should ask Berlusconi about how to become a dictator in all but name. If the only reason to have fewer links with Europe is so we dont have to associate with ‘Il Duce’, that’s good enough for me.

    Comment by David Evens — 5 Mar 2004 on 1:05 pm | Link

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