Media mogul Silvio Berlusconi, testing the waters for a possible return to the Italian premier's office, is lashing out at successor Mario Monti for imposing higher taxes while battling Italy's financial crisis.

Berlusconi was interviewed by Il Giornale, a Milan newspaper in the Berlusconi family media empire, aboard a cruise ship in the Adriatic on Sunday.

The newspaper sponsored the cruise for its conservative followers. The paper quoted Berlusconi as saying Italy's recession won't end unless Monti swiftly lowers tax burdens on Italians. Monti insists taxes, including one reviving a property tax that Berlusconi had abolished, are key to healing Italy's finances. Italian news agency ANSA quoted Berlusconi as saying he'd abolish it again if he returns to power. Berlusconi hasn't announced if he'll run in spring elections.