“European history is sometimes turned upside down, but it is also fascinating.” Romano Prodi


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

Alberto de Filippis of Euronews’ Italian service spoke to the former Italian politician and scholar to get his take on some of Europe’s biggest challenges.

Alberto de Filippis, Euronews:

“Professor, you have held the highest post in the European Union and have always been one of the greatest promoters of the European project, but now you seem rather critical. You have criticized the concept of unanimity in decision-making processes of the bloc, declaring that no system democracy can work this way Does the Union no longer work?

Romano Prodi:

“I have always considered unanimity to be very, very bad, so what you are saying is true. You cannot rule that way. It is intolerable not to have a real foreign policy, to have Turkey and Russia in charge of Libya, not to know what decisions to take because you have to decide everything unanimously, since the war in Iraq. I am sure some European countries understand this. Germany, France, Italy and Spain would be able to form the first group, to finally get things done in European politics.

Alberto de Filippis, Euronews:

Europe is often accused of being a giant with feet of clay. When you look at Ukraine, the problems at the Belarusian border and the issue of gas supply to Russia. With the exception of the United States and China, how do you think Europe is interacting with other major powers?

Romano Prodi:

“On the one hand, there is loyalty to the Atlantic Alliance which has united the European countries from the start. And then, in my opinion, there is also a necessary and useful fidelity, but passive. We must say European policy. is not made by Europe. It is decided elsewhere by others. In my opinion, even NATO needs a European army. That is why we complained that we were not notified of the withdrawal from Afghanistan. There is no alliance where an ally is not warned. ”

Alberto de Filippis, Euronews:

“The Union has gone through several 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 possibly be resolved?

Romano Prodi:

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

Alberto de Filippis, Euronews:

“Since Brexit, there has been a redefinition of the roles of European countries in a certain way. For example, the new treaty between France and Italy. Is the so-called Franco-German engine now outdated? there a reason for it to exist? “

Romano Prodi:

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

Alberto de Filippis, Euronews:

“Let’s talk about money. Structural reforms are needed to tap into the COVID-19 Stimulus Fund. The money is linked to the reform. This is not theory, but a necessary condition. What is your point of view ? “

Romano Prodi:

“In my opinion, reform is the only way out of this crisis. I’m convinced. Economic advances have been made but these steps have not been taken in politics. The message is very clear: everyone must play their part for progress. . There is no other way out than to reform. 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’s briefly assess this. Could something have been done better or differently twenty years ago?”

Romano Prodi:

“It started very well. But then, because of several crises, because of certain decisions, things turned badly and the euro lost some of its shine. I think the need for the euro is still very much. strong and today it is one of the most important world currencies, even if it is not at par with the dollar, as one would have hoped. But, it is certainly not a player minor.”

Alberto de Filippis, Euronews:

“The race for the Italian presidency will take place soon. There are calls for Mr Draghi to handle the takeover 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’s going on in Draghi’s head. A conscious choice must be made, in a peaceful country, without political upheaval. Left to the individual. asking is: what are your intentions? A lot of people think that current president Sergio Mattarella will remain in office. Mr Mattarella has always said he will leave at the end of his current term. Draghi will declare his intentions soon. “

Alberto de Filippis, Euronews:

“You recently wrote a new book declaring your love for Europe. Can you tell us about some of the things you love the most and why?

Romano Prodi:

“I obviously start by talking about my city Bologna. A city which 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 . It was only until great statesmen realized that history had to change. They wrote the Ventotene Manifesto and the adventure began. These are emotional moments. There are moments of emotion. also moments of fun, like Zidane’s header at the 2006 World Cup. And then there are things like the Erasmus program, the euro. European history is sometimes turned upside down, but it is also fascinating . “


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