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ROME, June 29 (Itar-Tass) - New and rather deplorable obstacles have sprung up in the way of a rapprochement between Russia and the European Union recently and they have slowed down the process considerably, Italy’s former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, who leads the People of Freedom party, said in an exclusive interview with Itar-Tass Friday.
The same tendency can be observed in relations between Russia and the U.S., he said.
Berlusconi indicated that he has “always been a convinced fighter for the unity of the West, of which the Russian Federation is an inalienable part.”
That is why it is important to restore the political climate that was felt in Pratica di Mare, an Italian town where a Russia-NATO summit was held in 2002, and to revert to the trustworthy, cloudless relations between the U.S. and Russia, as well as between NATO and Russia, he said.
A buildup of integration between the EU and the Eurasian space, which embraced Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan currently, is important likewise as the two entities, the EU and the Eurasian area, do have something to tell each other in the economy and beyond it.
“We need a broad vision and large-scale projects because a giant space of growth, affluence and cooperation can be placed only on these two pillars,” Berlusconi said.
As he mentioned the situation in Europe, he said he shares the discouraging assessments of many Nobel Prize winning economists and experts from around the world who express them despite belonging to different schools of thought and scientific trends.
“Economizing at all costs and shortsighted frugality are suffocating the economy and paving the way to its collapse and the unemployment exceeding 50 million people offers a graphic testimony to this,” Berlusconi said.
“What else should happen to change the course of events and what universally anticipated steps should be taken?” he asked somewhat rhetorically.
He believes that as a first step, the European Central Bank should turn into the last decision-making instance in the process of loan disbursement, the same way that the U.S. Federal Reserve is, and it should issue guarantees for public borrowings of the all the countries making up the euro area.
Secondly, it is important to overcome the existing European restrictions - for the purpose of slashing taxes and restoring the consumer capability rather than for increasing the expenditure, Berlusconi said.
“We should do this for the benefit of hundreds of millions of women and men who don’t was to squander what remains of their savings but who are ready to produce new wealth and benefits,” he said.