The government of Ukraine banned for 3 years the ex Prime Minister of Italy, Sylvio Berlusconi, from entering the country, because he visited Crimea with his dear friend Vladimir Putin. Berlusconi is one of the most outspoken supporters of Russia in Europe, and Vladimir Putin is always welcome at Berlusconi’s parties. In Italy there was also a scandal because Gazprom made an agreement with an Italian energy company, Central Energy Italian Gas Holding, in which a friend of Berlusconi was holding 33% of the shares.
Berlusconi was Italy’s Prime Minister for most of the first decade of the 21st century, and in the same way that the ex Prime Minister of Germany Gerhard Schroeder is considered to be the father of the Nord Stream pipeline, together with Putin of course, Sylvio Berlusconi is considered to be the father of the South Stream pipeline. The Russians gave the Italian energy giant ENI 20% of the shares of the South Stream pipeline. The Italian public is ENI’s largerst shareholder with a 30% of “golden” shares, which give the Italian government several privileges over the remaining 70% of the shares which are privately held.
Maybe Berlusconi’s geopolitical direction towards Russia was one of the reasons that Qatar wanted to buy from Berlusconi 30% of the shares of the Italian football club AC Milan, as you can read at the following Al Arabiya article, titled “Qatar linked to AC Milan purchase, Berlusconi ready to sell: report”, October 2012. It is true of course that Qatar, like all other Arab countries, invests billions in European countries and Italy, and it is also promoting the Muslim refugees and building mosques, where young Muslims are recruited. Leftist politicians like Alexis Tsipras in Greece and Mateo Rentzi in Italy are very happy to allow illegal refugees in their countries. For Qatar’s role in Europe there are many articles, you can see for example the following Telegraph article titled “Qatar donates £1.5m for mosque after intervention from Jack Straw”, October 2009, and the following Gatestone article ‘Italy’s Mosque Wars”, February 2012, or “Qatar Investments in Europe reach 65 billion USD”, November 2013, by the Geopolitical Monitor of the Middle East.
Berlusconi’s geopolitical direction towards Russia reduced Italy’s dependence on the Qatari liquefied natural gas, and Berlusconi was very pro-Israel, and he was even talking about Israel becoming a member of the EU, something unthinkable in Southern Europe where socialists are extremely pro-Arab and anti-Israel. See “Berlusconi says Israel should be an EU member”, February 2010. Berlusconi is not a socialist and he does not hate Israel in the same way socialists do. Socialists are always an easy prey for the Arab, Iranian and Russian petrodollars.
The French were feeling uneasy about the Russian-German-Italian natural gas axis, and in 2009 they decided to join NATO, 33 years after their withdrawal from the alliance in 1966. However with the cancellation of the South Stream and the agreement for the Nord Stream 2, the Russians gave shares to the British (Shell) and not the Italians (ENI). Therefore we should expect the Anglo-Russian relations to become warmer and the Russo-Italian ones to become colder. See “The Clouds Over the Russian-Italian Relations”.
That is of course if the South Stream is not revived at some point, and if the Nord Stream 2 come to life.
For the articles see:
“Ukraine Bans Silvio Berlusconi for Three Years After Crimea Visit: Reports”, September 2015
“Berlusconi says Israel should be an EU member”, February 2010
“Qatar linked to AC Milan purchase, Berlusconi ready to sell: report”, του Οκτωβρίου 2012
“Qatar donates £1.5m for mosque after intervention from Jack Straw”, October 2009
‘Italy’s Mosque Wars”, February 2012
“Qatar Investments in Europe reach 65 billion USD”, November 2013