Silvio Berlusconi, the former Prime Minister, has attacked Germany's handling of the eurozone crisis, accusing Berlin of "dictating rules" to other European countries.
In one of the few interviews he has given since stepping down, Mr Berlusconi called Germany a "hegemonic state that is dictating rules on discipline and austerity to other European countries".
The interview focused almost entirely on Mr Berlusconi's political future, rather than his controversial past. He has kept a low profile since stepping down last November, when the scale of the financial crisis engulfing Italy led to him losing his parliamentary majority. At the time, he was also facing several trials for fraud, corruption and having sex with an under-age girl.
But Mr Berlusconi – whose People of Freedom party has called for him to lead it into the general election next year – said that he had behaved properly at all times. "My behaviour has always been correct, in private and in public. Everything else is disinformation and defamation," he said. "The use of the judicial system to eliminate a political adversary is a serious pathology affecting our democracy."