Silvio Berlusconi, the gaffe-prone Prime Minister of Italy, on Friday told his Albanian counterpart Sali Berisha that the only immigrants he would accept from his country were beautiful girls.
Berlusconi, whose seemingly all too frequent faux pas include a reference to U.S. President Barack Obama and the First Lady Michelle Obama as "tanned", was speaking at a press conference in Rome after holding talks with the Prime Minister of Albania.
The Telegraph notes that after indicating that Albania and Italy had been successful in tackling the problem of illegal immigrants being trafficked from the former country to the latter country 73-year-old Berlusconi added:I said to Sali – we'd make exceptions for anyone bringing over beautiful girls
He then followed up that remark, which the Daily Mail says left Sali Berisha "visibly uncomfortable", by telling photographers and journalists, some of whom were reportedly women from Albania:You know I'm single now
Prime Minister of Italy on three separate occasions, the current term having begun in May 2008, Berlusconi is currently in the process of divorcing his second wife Veronica Lario, who is the mother of three of his five children.
Responding to the comments made by Berlusconi, physically attacked in December by a 42-year-old man said to have psychiatric problems, opposition MP Paola Pellegrini said:Once again Berlusconi just doesn't give up on his barracks humour. Even in the face of tragedy such as immigration by desperate people, from in this case Albania, the Prime Minister repeats his obsession with woman reduced to fresh meat to be consumed.
He is an indecorous old man who pretends to lead a country which has been subjected to the propaganda of his television and newspapers
Ms Pellegrini will be only too well aware that Berlusconi is not averse to passing sexist remarks regarding female politicians in Italy after he told former government minister Rosy Bindi, when they were appearing on a TV show together last year:I recognise you are increasingly more beautiful than you are intelligent
Ms Bindi retorted:I am not one of the women at your disposal, Prime Minister
Other Berlusconi gaffes include his observations that German MEP Martin Schulz looked to him like a concentration camp guard and the population of Kazakhstan was increasing because the country's men were virile.
According to the Scotsman he also informed U.S. businessman that Italy was the right place for them to invest "because we have fewer communists nowadays and beautiful secretaries, superb girls".
In 2002 he advised then Danish prime minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen, now Secretary General of NATO, that he, Rasmussen, was the "the best-looking prime minister in Europe" and might want to consider an affair with Veronica, his soon-to-be ex-wife.