Europe minister ditches desk used by Mussolini

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AN ITALIAN government minister has ordered a desk in his new office to be removed as it was used by Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini.

Newly appointed Europe minister Enzo Moavero Milanesi, 57, told his staff there was “no way” he would sit behind the mahogany leather-topped desk as he was a “committed and proud anti-Fascist”.

Mr Milanesi, who was sworn in two weeks ago, has been given an office in Palazzo Chigi, the building in the centre of Rome which houses prime minister Mario Monti’s various departments.

His new room used to be the office of former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi’s spokesman, Paolo Bonaiuti and a source close to him said: “Paolo had the desk in the centre of his office and took great care of it because of the history that surrounded it.”

Mr Milanesi, a lawyer and former European judge in Luxembourg, like many in the new Monti government of technocrats, is a left-of-centre university lecturer.

The news was greeted with outrage by one of Berlusconi’s closest allies, Francesco Storace, leader of the right-wing Destra party, who urged Mr Monti to “get rid of him”.

He said: “I have never heard of Enzo Moavero Milanesi and I think that even a lot of Italians would have trouble understanding who he is.”