London: An Italian newspaper owned by former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi has stirred controversy by printing a front page headline that reads ``Fourth Reich`` above a picture of German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
The picture along with the article in newspaper Il Giornale, which also showed Merkel raising her right arm in salute, a gesture associated with the Nazi salute used by Hitler`s followers, has caused a bitter war of words between Italy and Germany over the handling of the ongoing Euro crisis.
The article attacked tough talking Merkel, saying that her intransigence had brought ``us and Europe to its knees`` adding that ``Italy is no longer in Europe but in the Fourth Reich.``
“In the First Reich, Germany also wanted the title Emperor of Rome and in the next two they used their own means again against the states of Europe, two world wars and millions of dead, obviously this was not enough to quieten German egomania,” the Daily Mail quoted the article, as stating.
“Once again it has surfaced but this time not with the use of cannon, this time it`s the Euro. The Germans believe it`s theirs and we have to submit, surrender, hand ourselves over to the new Kaiser Angela Merkel who wants to rule in our own house,” it continued.
It is not the first time that Il Giornale has been at the centre of controversy with Germany, as two months ago after Italy beat Germany in the Euro 2012 semi final, it printed a picture of Merkel below the headline: ``Ciao, ciao culona`` which translates as ``Bye bye lard arse.``
Germany has been at loggerheads with Italy over the handling of the ongoing Eurozone crisis and accusing Rome of not doing enough to get its finances in order to resolve the single currency problem, the paper said.