Interview with Prodi, RomanoFrom the The European Commission 1986-2000. Memories of an institution Collection
Recorded in 01 April 2016 Bologna
Interview by Laura Fasanaro and Leopoldo Nuti and Antonio Varsori in English
The interview begins with some references to the circumstances of Romano Prodi's appointment, to the moment when he formed his ‘team’ of Commissioners and to his
relations with them. In this and in other parts of the interview, he also mentions some of the reasons for his low chances for being re-elected. At the core of the interview there
are issues related to, first, the internal life and politics of the Commission; second, its
involvement in the EU Constitutional treaty; third, Prodi’s political and personal assessment of the EU foreign and security policy and of the major international crises of the early 2000s.
As far as the first group of issues is concerned, the interview reports about the former
President’s broad conception of the role of the Commission as 'the executive government of Europe’ and, more specifically, about Prodi’s view of the Kinnock reform
and its consequences. It further deals with the Commission’s relationship with the
European Parliament and with the press, with its legitimacy crisis and search for visibility.
It finally goes into what Prodi refers to as the main achievements of his Commission:
enlargement, the entry into force of the Euro; the signing of the Kyoto Protocol; to
some extent also regional policy and the social chapter. In this part, Prodi reports also on the failed achievements and the difficulties encountered by his Commission for example in realizing the so-called ‘ring of friends’ (neighbourhood policy) and in receiving the approval of the member states to increase the EU budget. Referring to the second group of issues, namely those related to the EU Constitutional Treaty, Prodi talks about the negative consequences of the French referendum and the Penelope project. Concerning the third group of questions, finally, the interview reports about Prodi’s point of view on the Saint-Malo agreement and on the Treaty of Amsterdam; his view of the relations between the EU and Russia, as well as his political and personal relations with Putin; transatlantic relations, both under Bill Clinton’s and under George W. Bush’s Presidency; Prodi’s personal recall of 9/11 and the impact of the Iraqi war on the EU and the European Commission in particular. The interview, finally, refers to the relations between Prodi’s Commission and the Italian Government.
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