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Politics: Prodi, “pulling down the EU? It would be a disaster. It’s not the Europe I had dreamt of but we can help each other out of the storm”

 

“Pulling down Europe and replace it with what? Because, let it be clear, no nation can make it on its own”. The view of Romano Prodi – economist, minister, twice prime minister, former president of the EU Commission –, in an interview with SIR in the run-up to the State of the Union address that Juncker will give in Strasbourg tomorrow, deals with the current news and the future of the EU integration process. From economy to security, from migration to Brexit (“it’s the result of Europe’s distance from its citizens”), Prodi mentions the historical significance of the EU building process in overcoming conflict and creating growth and wealth. “It’s still time for solidarity”, he explains. “It was the fathers of Europe, first and foremost Robert Schuman, who placed solidarity as the foundation of the Union. They were led by the memory of what the war had caused and by the will to prevent what had happened with the Second World War happening again”. What is the situation now? “Now, we take peace within our borders for granted, despite the world all around us being overwhelmed by a ‘piecemeal third world war’, as Pope Francis aptly described it. It is a mistake that is most often committed by the new generations, born long after the world war, who seem not to understand the role played by a united Europe in conquering a peace that has lasted for over seventy years”.
Prodi states shortly after: “We are facing a growing, dangerous anti-European, anti-system phenomenon that tries to appeal to the natural feeling of belonging to one’s country, which is shared by all peoples and that is in itself a natural, right feeling. The aim is to weaken what has been built in over seventy years with patience and great political vision”. And then: “I have repeatedly said that this Europe is a sort of half-baked bread. It is a Europe that won’t convince and won’t solve things, that does not give political answers to our problems: unemployment, the middle classes losing their economic power, immigration. But it is not by pulling it down that we will solve our troubles; actually, it would be a total disaster. The idea of a two-speed Europe that I had been preaching myself for a long time is for the time being the only feasible answer, lacking a shared European policy. It is not the Europe I had dreamt of, but we can help each other out of the storm”.

 

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