“We Need More, Not Less Europe”
Until Europe develops a common economic policy, growth will continue to be sluggish and we won’t be able to tackle the issue of unemployment, Romano Prodi told a press conference at IESE in Barcelona on Friday.
The former Italian prime minister, who also presided over the introduction of the euro when he was president of the European Commission, is now a professor at the China Europe International Business School (CEIBS) with which IESE is closely associated.
He began by talking about the changes in the political landscape after last month’s European elections. He said the commission would have to take heed of these changes but criticised many member governments for falling in line behind xenophobic and nationalist elements. This has led to short-term policies that have rendered Europe incapable of tackling the big, long-term problems of slow growth and highunemployment.
"Britain seems to be undecided whether to go West or East, which side of the Atlantic they want to look to, and it’s clear that David Cameron’s position is not far off that of mainstream British public opinion," he commented.
In response to criticisms of the European Central Bank, Prodi said that the problem isn’t the ECB but the European Commission and the Council of Europe. The bank is the only body that has done something about the crisis. "The crisis began in the United States but the day after $800 million were put into the economy and the Chinese government did the same. But Europe has done nothing. The only reaction has come from the ECB," observed Prodi.
"The real problem is that Europe is half-baked. The British government says things are going badly because of Europe but I think it’s because of a lack of Europe."
The lack of common policy is what has led Europe to have such a lowgrowthrate for so long. The current rate of growth, he said, would have no significant impact on employment.