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Romano Prodi: Economic slump in Europe is over

October 04, 2013, 11:54 UTC+3
However, final overcoming would require time and Germany’s active policies, Italy's ex-PM said in an exclusive interview with Itar-Tass
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Photo ITAR-TASS/Mikhail Klimentyev

Photo ITAR-TASS/Mikhail Klimentyev

MOSCOW, October 4 (Itar-Tass) - ROME, October 4 (Itar-Tass) - The peak of the European economic crisis is over, but the final overcoming would require time and Germany’s active policies, Italy’s former Prime Minister and former Chairman of the European Commission Romano Prodi said in an exclusive interview with Itar-Tass on Friday.

“The peak of the crisis is over, which allows overcoming the tension and lack of trust in financial markets and favors the European Central Bank to continue the current policy,” Prodi said. “The European currency has become more reliable, the international situation is improving, a certain growth is evident in Europe, and Italy, though slower, does follow the tendencies.”

Prodi is sure Germany is playing a leading role in Europe and should become a locomotive of the European economic growth. “An impetus to Germany’s economic growth could be a present for entire Europe. In Germany, all economic rates favor the policy of growth, though the country, on the contrary, has been considering it with caution. The only thing expected from Germany, from which nobody is asking money for a ‘rescue,’ is to use the measures aimed at growth and thus to become a locomotive for other European countries,” he said.

The former prime minister highlighted the importance of long-term bigger unanimity in Europe, which also depends a lot on Germany. “Now, one country is a leader, where others are following, those who have to follow Germany’s policy. This causes, naturally, very big responsibilities,” he said.

Europe’s unanimity is not doubted any longer, he continued, but foreign policies and the defense still remain obstacles, Prodi said.

“We should remember that money and the armed forces make the base of any country. One of these basic criteria (the money) has been modified, though without complications or resistance. Governments of sovereign countries are more cautious about unification of armed forces.”

Fragmentation and lack of coordination the European countries have been demonstrating in foreign policies have not allowed the EU to play a bigger role in searching for a solution of the Syrian crisis.

Russia and Europe should be more opened to each other

In an exclusive interview with Itar-Tass, Prodi said: “I’m sure that relations between Russia and Europe should be closer.”

“I believe that this is a big mistake from the EU and Russia when they ‘play hide-and-seek’: today they agree and tomorrow they don’t. That is why I use a metaphor that Russia and Europe are like as vodka and caviar. Russia can’t achieve the goals in modernisation, technological and industrial development without close relations with Europe that also needs Russia,” Prodi said.

He believes that both countries lack openness in several spheres. “A total of 500 million Europeans with the high technological development and the historical cultural tradition are a big potential for Russia that can’t be excluded of the Europe-U.S. trade space, which is being now created,” Prodi said.

Being U.N. Special Envoy for the Sahel region Prodi worked on development projects. He said Russia, which maintained relations with Africa, was absent in the region too long. “Russia should return to Africa and now there are favourable conditions, for Russia primarily,” he said.

Prodi considers the unfair distribution of wealth the key challenge. “Democracy is not only elections, but this is a fair system of wealth distribution. The situation worsened in the United States and all European countries, the Scandinavian states and in Brazil. Russia is not an exception,” the Italian politician said.

Russian diplomacy plays invaluable role in preventing war in Syria

“The risk was big to rush into war without frontiers - Shiites and Sunnites; everyone has their sponsors; Israel and Iran. A door was being opened to the hell. Russia had a delicate diplomatic game by having offered an objective solution due to its own interests and the interests of the U.S. and Europe,” Prodi said in his interview.

Prodi praises the fact that Russia and the United States succeeded in holding a fruitful dialogue.

“Of course, the problem has not been closed. The talks continue. The situation is not easy. But the main thing is that Syria succeeded in avoiding war. I should say that Russian diplomacy’s contribution was invaluable,” he said.

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