Logic of realpolitik
Updated: 2011-07-15 11:09
By Matthew Morgan (China Daily European Weekly)
Romano Prodi, former president of the European Commission, says that Europe and China are natural partners. Provided to China Daily
China will be the major instrument for growth in the future, says Romano Prodi
Romano Prodi's enthusiasm for China is passionate and heartfelt. He is not happy about the general portrayal of China in the European press and, to some extent as a result of this, the attitudes of the public. Prodi, who twice served as the prime minister of Italy - once in the mid-1990s and again in the latter half of the last decade - has himself experienced some of that reaction.
Barely had he settled down in an ornate chair at the elegantly-appointed Shangri-la Hotel in Paris, built in 1896 as the home of Prince Roland Bonaparte - Napoleon's grandnephew - he refers to that period: "All the objections I had in my political life were reported to be on account of my being much too pro-Chinese, any crisis or bankruptcy in any company was because of the Chinese."
He laughs but asserts: "China will be the major instrument for growth in the future. China must give the message that its growth is not damaging, but helping us."
Prodi points to China's role in the current global financial crisis as evidence of this positive role.
"Without the $800 billion (563 billion euros) from the US and the $585 billion spent by China (as part of stimulus measures), it would have been a catastrophe."
He was speaking to China Daily on the eve of the 9th Euro-China Forum hosted at the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) in Paris, where he was one of the key speakers.
The event was co-organized by the China Europe International Business School (CEIBS) where Prodi is the Chair of Sino-European Dialogue.
An appropriate role for a man who is keen to advocate that very approach but seems frustrated that Europe, as an entity, does not speak in one voice when it comes to China.
"You could not say there is a European policy vis-a-vis China, nor a Chinese policy vis-a-vis Europe," he tells China Daily.
"There is sympathy, and more of a friendship aspect, but China, if you look globally, is looking more at the United States.
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