Prodi: “Progressives must answer for plight of the middle class”

The former Prime Minister of Italy: “Brakcet won in the suburbs, trump in the Midwest, populism exploits the inequality. Europe must be active, as in the case when it ordered Apple to pay an unprecedented fine.”

Sunday evening, Romano Prodi (Romano Prodi) at home in Bologna has just started to share with us what you think about the first statements of the new US President, “it is obvious the gap is unprecedented in U.S. history” when the mobile phone rang, bursting into an energetic “Ode to joy” by Beethoven (which, incidentally, is also the anthem of Europe). Professor Prodi smiled: “Yes, I’m old school!”

La Stampa: trump is betting on the collapse of Europe?

Romano Prodi: If trump has carefully planned all their statements the last time (which he undoubtedly did), he puts to further divide Europe. In his attacks on Germany, the blame for the fact that it dominates in Europe, there is an understanding that the state is the unifying element of Europe. But there is something beyond that. Germany has always been a European student, she always organically developed relationships with the US, it first imposed sanctions on Russia, though it was contrary to its own immediate interests. In their relationship strength was determined at the expense of fidelity, and Vice versa.

— Europe now reflects…

— Thinking? It seems to me that the EU simply did not respond to trump statements, evidence of the revolution in the relations with the EU, Europe currently does not exist. Surprisingly, nobody felt the need to convene an extraordinary summit. I believe that we need to react as soon as possible. First of all you should organize a “counter-attack” on anti-Russian sanctions…

— What do you mean “counter-attack”?

— The need to immediately lift sanctions against Russia. I am very deeply convinced in this. It is possible to sacrifice themselves for the sake of consensus, however, when neither of which solidarity is no question, there’s no point in fighting anymore. In a wise Calabrian proverb says: who will pretend to be sheep will eat the wolf. First you need to play the card, not allowing America to occupy a privileged position in relations with Russia.

— About joint European defense saying for many years, with no progress in the negotiations is not observed as if it is some sort of Chimera…

— And here it is necessary to check whether they will pass from conversations to business. If trump will confirm their intentions in respect of NATO, should immediately prepare a common project of European defence. Moreover, currently in the first phase of development here will not even need of increasing spending, because important results can be achieved by combining common resources under one command.

— Why Germany still has not responded to the attacks trump?

Here I tend to not Express a suspicion, but rather doubt. Reflecting on what I read, from numerous interviews with major representatives of German politics emerges the idea that Germany is going to abandon the Euro. I have a sneaking doubt that Germany is preparing a backup strategy: how it will cope on their own.

— Victory trump contains also a reaction to the phenomenon of inequality afflicting the American middle class: the “sensitivity” rather progressivist or liberal-economic sense?

— Success for trump, as well, and European populists, reflects the plight of middle and working class. See, this is a completely transparent phenomenon: Pexit wins in the densely populated suburbs and not in London; tramp — in the Midwest, but certainly not in new York and not in California. And the Movement of “Five stars”? Wins in the Roman suburbs, but not Rome! During these years, saved only by the highest stratum of the middle class, increased the distance between rich and poor. A recent report from Oxfam is an impressive warning, at least, where it is stated that the status of eight “Scrooge” as equivalent to three and a half billion people. Why are we still hesitant reaction? Shouldn’t we try to find a fair solution before a revolution?

— Now the left is losing ground, how to react?

— First of all we should understand what is happening. Trump took advantage of this ailment, despite the fact that he and his closest associates belong to a privileged part of American society. This disease is that just a statement, moreover, the more explicit it is, the better. If the application will be based on ideology, it will not work. Marine Le Pen consolidates its position when “killing” his father and abandoning ideological roots, it refers to suffering the deprivation of the bourgeoisie and at the same time to work in Marseilles. The same thing happens with the movement of “Five stars”: it’s not right and not the left. The Northern League, remained loyal to its ideological roots, have limited their protests. It is difficult to understand the popularity of the trump among extreme evangelicals and Catholics: this great fear can still be used.

Is it possible to return to the welfare programs of the 50’s or 60’s?

— This requires effective reforms: the work is sedentary, capital is leaving the state, the old schemes do not lead the system to equilibrium. When we were young, the question was as follows: more taxes or social security? For 35 years is only the recipe of tax cuts, and realized it left.

— Specifically?

— “For example. The European Commission has been the moment of glory when ordered Apple to pay Ireland a fine of 13 billion euros in unpaid taxes. One could say: well. But bring this story to the end? Apple $ 250 billion of liquidity…”

— And if you start a phase of protectionism?

“If we literally perceive everything trump says, it would be a disaster. However, only lead a protectionist policy, as in the case of China, means to follow not linked to reality logic: don’t move, I’ll beat him! Anyone would react. I think and hope that trump is, in fact, will be more careful.”

— Some people see your statements about the coalition “the Olive tree” the prospect of returning to politics…

— “This possibility is not out of the question. However, in a world where so many cracks, the Olive tree could be a uniting politics and society element”.

Is this such an emotional period in Italy will benefit from a head of government who is able to keep calm and not get carried away by rhetoric?

— He’s not cool, he is calm. So in my government, we are well cooperated with Gentiloni. I have much faith in him.