Mourners surround an ornate hearse, pulled by six black-plumed horses, carrying the body of Vittorio Casamonica to the Rome suburbs where his funeral Mass was celebrated on August 20th. Photograph: Reuters

As Rome funerals go, it was hardly your understated, run-of-the-mill event. For a start, the ornate hearse was pulled by six black horses. For a secon(...)

Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi: Opponents have claimed his confidence vote method is the same one used by fascist dictator Mussolini. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

Despite opposition from within his own Democratic Party (PD), Italy’s prime minister Matteo Renzi ploughed ahead with his ambitious reform programme (...)

Marine Le Pen, France’s National Front political party leader, reacts to results after the polls closed in the European Parliament elections.  Photograph: Remy de la Mauviniere/AP

National Front (FN) leader Marine Le Pen inherited her father Jean-Marie’s self-assurance, deep voice, and the way he throws back his head and guffaws(...)

Belgium’s prime minister Elio Di Rupo (left) and Francophone Socialist party (PS) chairman Paul Magnette leave a meeting with King Philippe at the Royal Palace in Brussels. Photograph: Francois Lenoir/Reuters

Belgium began the process of forming a new government yesterday as outgoing prime minister Elio Di Rupo resigned from cabinet and King Philippe met(...)

Head of Austria’s far-right Freedom Party (FPÖ) Heinz-Christian Strache (centre) and top candidate Harald Vilimsky (right) celebrate after European Parliament elections in Vienna.  The party ended on 20.5 per cent – up 7.8 per cent on 2009. Photograph: Heinz-Peter Bader/Reuters

Italy: Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi’s centre-left Democratic Party (PD) was ahead of the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement, according to an ex(...)

If Marine Le Pen leads her National Front party to victory, she improves her chances of making it to the 2017 presidential run-off. Photograph: Reuters

France will elect 74 MEPs on Sunday week. The government has not organised a civic information campaign, as it usually does for elections. Nearly two-(...)

 Italy’s new prime minister, Matteo Renzi,  is  pursued by the media as he leaves a church after attending Sunday Mass near Florence yesterday.   Photograph:  Maurizio Degl’Innocenti

In keeping with his innovative image, Italy’s youngest prime minister, Matteo Renzi, yesterday started his first (...)

 Democratic Party (PD) leader and Florence mayor, Matteo Renzi, during a ceremony at the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence, Italy, today. He is set to become prime minister today when asked to form a government by the president. Photograph: Maurizio Degl’ Innocenti/EPA

Italy’s most recent government crisis went into overdrive today as the “irrevocable” resignation of prime minister Enrico Letta was officially (...)

Former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi closes his eyes in a gesture to supporters during a rally to protest his tax fraud conviction in central Rome in  August. Photograph: Alessandro Bianchi/Reuters.

Italy’s Senate will hold an open vote next month on whether to expel Silvio Berlusconi from parliament because of a tax fraud conviction, after an up(...)

People of Freedom leader Silvio Berlusconi rubs his eyes after delivering his speech at the Senate in Rome yesterday, in which he acknowledged defeat and said he would support the government. Photograph: Gregorio Borgia/AP

As cliffhangers go, the Senate confidence vote won yesterday 235-70 by the Enrico Letta coalition government was in a class of its own. Just as the ho(...)