Tuesday, January 18

“European history is sometimes a disaster, but it is also exciting.” Romano Prodi


He is considered one of the fathers of the euro and a strong supporter of the enlargement of the EU. As former President of the European Commission and two-time Prime Minister of Italy, Romano Prodi has called on EU leaders to show courage in the face of current health and political challenges posed by Brexit and COVID-19, issues that have shaken Brussels.

Alberto de Filippis, from the Italian Euronews service, spoke with the former Italian politician and academic to get his views on some of the biggest challenges in Europe.

Alberto de Filippis, Euronews:

“Professor, you held the highest position in the European Union and have always been one of the biggest promoters of the European project, but now you seem quite critical. You have criticized the concept of unanimity in the bloc’s decision-making processes, stating that it does not The system can work this way: Is the Union no longer working?

Romano Prodi:

“I have always considered unanimity to be very, very bad, so what you say is true. You cannot rule this way. It is intolerable not to have a proper foreign policy, to have Turkey and Russia in charge of Libya, not to know what decisions to make because we must decide everything unanimously, since the Iraq war. I’m sure some European countries understand. Germany, France, Italy and Spain could form the first group, to finally move things forward in European politics ”.

Alberto de Filippis, Euronews:

Europe is often accused of being a giant with feet of clay. When we look at Ukraine, the problems on the Belarusian border and the problem of gas supply from Russia. Excluding the US and China, how do you think Europe interacts with other major powers?

Romano Prodi:

“On the one hand, there is a loyalty to the Atlantic Alliance that has united the European countries from the beginning. And then, in my opinion, there is also a fidelity that is necessary and useful, but passive. It must be said that European politics does not Europe. It is decided by others elsewhere. In my opinion, even NATO needs a European army. It is the reason why we complain that we were not warned about the withdrawal from Afghanistan. There is no alliance where there is an unseen ally. ”

Alberto de Filippis, Euronews:

“The Union has gone through a number of crises in its history, but the current confrontation between Brussels and countries like Poland and Hungary seems potentially more destructive. How do you think this could eventually be resolved?”

Romano Prodi:

“There is a clash over the fundamental rules of the European Union, but I am firmly convinced that Poland and Hungary will understand that what they are doing is wrong. There is a progressive conscience. Democracy is about having patience, democracy is patience and I I can see that the situation is changing in these countries, so I am optimistic. “

Alberto de Filippis, Euronews:

“Since Brexit, there has been a reshaping of the roles of some countries in Europe. For example, the new Treaty between France and Italy. Is the so-called Franco-German engine now out of date? Is there a reason for it to exist?”

Romano Prodi:

“No, far from it. Europe cannot go on without the two pistons of the engine that are France and Germany. But Italy is also an essential part of this engine, along with France, Germany and Spain.”

Alberto de Filippis, Euronews:

“Let’s talk a little about money. Structural reforms are required to access the COVID-19 Recovery Fund. The money is linked to the reform. This is not a theory, but a necessary condition. What is your opinion?”

Romano Prodi:

“In my opinion, reform is the only way out of this crisis. I am convinced of this. Some economic advances have been made but these steps have not been taken in politics. The message is very clear: everyone must do their part for progress. “. . There is no other way than to make reforms. These reforms were not implemented out of spite, but to proceed in a homogeneous and unitary manner. I am convinced that the European Union must use all the powers at its disposal to ensure these reforms are implemented. “

Alberto de Filippis, Euronews:

“It will soon be the 20th anniversary of the single currency. Let us evaluate it briefly. Could something better or otherwise have been done twenty years ago?”

Romano Prodi:

“It got off to a great start. But then, due to various crises, due to certain decisions, things got ugly and the euro lost some of its shine. I think the need for the euro is still very strong and today it is one of the currencies. major global players, even if it is not on par with the dollar, as we might have expected. But it is certainly not a minor player. “

Alberto de Filippis, Euronews:

“The race for the Italian presidency will take place soon. There are calls for Draghi to manage the recovery as prime minister and also to become president of Italy. How do you think this will play out?”

Romano Prodi:

“I have no idea because I don’t know what is going through Draghi’s mind. A conscious choice must be made, in a peaceful country, without political turmoil. Other than that, when it comes to such personal decisions, these should come first. The question to be asked is: what are his intentions? Many people think that the current president Sergio Mattarella will remain in office. Mr. Mattarella has always said that he will leave at the end of his current term. Draghi will soon declare his intentions. ” .

Alberto de Filippis, Euronews:

“You have recently written a new book in which you declare your love for Europe. Can you tell us about some of the things you like best and why?”

Romano Prodi:

“Obviously, I begin by talking about my city, Bologna. A city that has welcomed students from all over Europe since the Middle Ages. Europe has gone through terrible times: the tragedy of wars, the tension between two terrible world wars. Until great statesmen They realized that history had to change. They wrote the Ventotene Manifesto and the adventure began. These are emotional moments. There are also moments of fun, like Zidane’s header during the 2006 World Cup. And then there are things like the Erasmus program , the euro. European history is sometimes a disaster, but it is also exciting. “


www.euronews.com

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