An official diplomatic encounter was called between Italy and Finland shortly after the Italian Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi, made comments that were interpreted to be in poor taste about Finland’s female President, Tarja Halonen. The comments were uttered at a European wide conference on food being held in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy last week.
In an attempted humorous speech, Berlusconi announced to the crowd that in order to get the conference to be held in Italy he even had to use his “playboy” charms on the Finnish president. President Halonen and other Finnish officials were shocked by the comment. Shortly thereafter a meeting was requested to express the country’s dismay at such commentary.
Then, Berlusconi continued with another remark that the Finns considered in bad taste, claiming that another reason Parma was chosen as the conference location was because there is no comparison between Italian Culatello and Finnish smoked reindeer.
Many in Finland have now rallied behind their President and there is even talk of boycotting Italian food products.