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Halonen and Berlusconi Meet in Rome

President Tarja Halonen on Wednesday met with Italian premier Silvio Berlusconi. Halonen says the Italian PM is keen on raising the profile of Finnish-Italian relations.

Tarja Halonen ja Silvio Berlusconi tarkastavat italialaista kunniavartiostoa Roomassa.
Tarja Halonen ja Silvio Berlusconi tapasivat Roomassa keskiviikkona. Image: Danilo Schiavella / EPA

Berlusconi expressed an interest in meeting with his Finnish counterpart, Prime Minister Mari Kiviniemi.

The meeting centred on international and economic affairs, with the EU, Russia, Libya and Turkey on the agenda.

Halonen described the reception as “super friendly,” with Berlusconi serving up homemade ice cream at the luncheon.

Earlier Remarks Drew Fire

A few years ago, the relationship between Halonen and Berlusconi attracted worldwide attention when Berlusconi claimed that he had used his manly charm to persuade President Tarja Halonen to give up Finland’s bid for the European Food Safety Authority. Berlusconi had perhaps overestimated his persuasion skills, quipped Halonen at the time.

After years of wrangling, the European Food Safety Authority was given to Italy in December 2003.

Halonen’s four-day visit draws to a close on Thursday. This is the first state visit by a Finnish president to Italy in 14 years.

Sources: YLE

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