An article by: Francesco Lovati

Europe must understand that its role in global development dynamics is cohesiveness and unification

Speaking at the Eurasian Economic Forum, former Italian Prime Minister and former European Commission President Romano Prodi spoke about the role that Europe plays and what it should look like on the international stage. First of all, the countries of the union suffer from the lack of a common foreign policy.

“Europe potentially possesses extraordinary strength, with industrial production and exports higher than in the American economy. The problem is that the structure of the European institution is not yet complete. Europe is the best bread that has nourished humanity in recent years; it is the only case of great reconciliation and common action in the world, but it is still half-baked bread, and half-baked bread isn’t good. When we created the euro, we had good relations with China and Russia, we acted as a bridge, and together with them we were a natural reference point for Central Asia. Now the international situation and our shortcomings have made our task more difficult.”

Europe must once again be able to count on the international stage, resuming its peacekeeping role and the use of “soft power” for the purpose of international cooperation. To do this, it must have a unified voice in foreign policy.

“What we, Europe, must do is restore this role and, above all, we must have a common defense and foreign policy. We have done a very good job economically, but until we have a common foreign policy, we will not be able to play the role of presence, influence, and friendship that we had just a few years ago. At that time, Europe, together with Russia and China, was the natural point of reference for Central Asia.

These growing tensions, the winds of war lead to an even greater ‘need for Europe.’ But Europe has instead weakened its natural zone of influence even in the Mediterranean.”

This emptiness is also felt in the current crisis in Israel.

“In the Celestial Empire, the only areas, albeit small, that still enjoy some peace and serenity are those where Italian, French, and European peacekeeping troops operate and manage to maintain civilization, rights, and a decent model of life for the population. However, in the current Middle East crisis, Europe did not exist: we had missions from individual countries, but no strong common proposal. For a long time, we had great influence, and dialogues with all countries were ideal, so my approach was to find common rules of coexistence and development with each country. Europe must recognize the fact that it can be an interlink, a force that unites, while respecting the systems and diversity of other countries.

Finally, on the future of the European Union:

“I am convinced that the next European elections will take a leap forward; Brexit has made it clear to everyone that leaving the EU is not an exciting option. Now no European country is going to leave.”

Verona Eurasian Economic Forum, Romano Prodi, Samarkand, Uzbekistan, Samarkand Forum


Francesco Lovati