Biography of Romano Prodi (1939-VVVV)

Romano Prodi

Economist and Italian politician, born on August 9, 1939 in Scandiano (Reggio Emilia). Italian Prime Minister between May 1996 and October 1998, President of the European Commission from 1999 to 2004 and President of the Council of Ministers of Italy between May 2006 and may 2008 (in office since January).

Highlighted by its successful and lucid analysis of the economic situation in Italy, in general, and the industry in particular, and came into contact with the world of politics to the be named Minister of industry in the Government of Giulio Andreotti, in 1978. Leading representative of the Italian left Democrat, Professor, and began to call in Italy, led the center-left coalition known as the olive tree, which won the general elections on April 21, 1996 against the pole of freedom of center right coalition led by Silvio Berlusconi. Identical result occurred ten years later when both candidates contested the leadership of the Government in the 2006 legislative.

Born in a middle class family, the cultural profile of Prodi corresponded to profile medium that was his native region, where small and medium-sized enterprises had a decisive weight and political stability was a permanent objective. He studied at the Catholic University of the sacred heart of Milan, where he studied jurisprudence and Economics and graduated in 1961. Brilliant student, completed this training during the next two years at the London School of Economics, prestigious Center where received his doctorate with a thesis titled the protectionism in the Italian industry. Influence on other Christian Democrat academic, Nino Andreatta, placed you in the Faculty of science policy of the University of Bologna, where he participated together with other young economists in the formation of the group called School of Bologna.

Initially stressed the serious work of Prodi, mainly the analysis on Italian industrial development, theme that already had faced in his thesis; in 1967 published its study on the dynamic competition and power of market and industrial policy and mergers of company, works of great diffusion that provided him with great prestige and facilitated the development of his career as a teacher in study centers such as the University of Trento, in 1973, or from Harvard University in 1974.

After this first phase basically academic, he got in touch with the publishing house Il Mulino, entity which became President, while directing the magazine industry belonging to the same company. This editorial soon became the Centre of meeting of intellectuals of different political sign, interested all of them to promote laico-catolico dialogue, objective of the Democrat left, which was directly rejected by the more conservative sectors.

Until 1978, Prodi stood aside from any political office. However, that same year, and encouraged by who was leader of the democracia-cristiana on the left during the decades of the 1970s until the 1980s, Ciriaco de Mita, accepted the portfolio of industry offered by the Government of Giulio Andreotti. Occupied the Ministry for a year and half, during which found numerous difficulties in the development of its program due to the opposition which, from the outset, found among classical families of Italian Finance. Despite this, he returned to form part of the Government in 1981, year where he also founded Nomisma, Centre of economic studies which immediately reached a huge prestige.

Internationally, the recognition of Romano Prodi as a great economist and political analyst was expressed in the Commission received various international organizations on hand for multiple reporting. One of these reports focused on Spain and made reference to the obstacles and problems that could arise from its accession to the European Economic Community (EEC). In this sense, he also collaborated as Advisor to Pope Juan Pablo II in matters relating to the economy of the countries of Central and Eastern Europe, although this is one of the lesser known functions of those made by Prodi.

During the Decade of the 1980s and early 1990s, Prodi repeated several times his position as President of the Institute for Industrial reconstruction (IRI), in which the Italian public companies are grouped. For the first time he was appointed to the post in 1982, moment in which the debt, after a disastrous administration of this organism, had overwhelmed any kind of forecast. IRI, constantly faced with equity firms private, accused of unfair and dotted with numerous cases of corruption, competition suffered a true metamorphosis during the leadership of Prodi. In 1988, six years after the post, the IRI Group kept profits of six hundred twenty-five million dollars, i.e. around 80 billion pesetas. The only black point that continued to maintain was the enmity and confrontation with the big industrialists, suspicious of the iron-fisted control that Prodi had indirectly exerted over them to control Mediobanca, financial institution used by Fiat, Pirelli and other major business groups of the country.

In 1993, the then Prime Minister Azeglio Ciampi returned to ask Prodi to fill the same position. This time the agenda of Prodi addressed, mainly, toward a goal: avoid the financial holdings to coparan the privatization of public enterprises. Romano Prodi stood firm in the position until the time of the rise of Silvio Berlusconi as head of Government, time in which preferred to resign, unless therefore abandon the policy.

So marked political figures as Giovanni Bianchi, Beniamino Andreatta and Nicola Mancino on Romano Prodi to the perfect candidate who, leading the coalition of centre left olive tree, could face and defeat in the elections of April 1996 to the conservative Center Coalition right led by Silvio Berlusconi, known as Polo for the liberty and whose training policy most important was the Italian Popular PartyPPI. Prodi reached a remarkable victory in this election, much wider than expected, for which he received the order of the President of the Italian Republic, Oscar Luigi Scalfaro, to form a new Government. The olive tree grouping to the Communists of the democratic left party, Democrats of the Christian Democrat Center and the recently released formation of Lamberto Dini, Italian renewal. Marked elections of 21 April, this coalition won 41.2% 25 votes, 5% 25 more from those obtained by the Coalition Polo for the liberty of Silvio Berlusconi and Gianfranco Fini.

The PDS was the party most voted with 21.1% 25, followed by Forza Italy with 20.6% 25 and the posfascista National Alliance with 15.7% 25. In any case, the most surprising result in the political landscape were the 10.4% 25 votes which, at the national level, won the Northern League. The new Government formed after these results was composed by Communists of the PDS, who took over a significant number of ministerial portfolios. Walter Veltroni was appointed as Vice President. The foreign portfolio was assigned to Lamberto Dini, and another former head of Government, Carlo Azeglio Ciampi, occupied the Ministry of Treasury and budgets. Interior portfolio was for the ex-comunista Giorgio Napolitano and director judge campaign Mani pulite (clean hands) took charge of the portfolio of public works.

During the election campaign, Prodi received the support of the popular masses and other sectors, as, for example, a large segment of the intelligentsia led by Umberto Eco and Norberto Bobbio, which stated that the only possibility of reforming the State and dignify the power structures and the civil service could come from the olive tree Coalition, because the Italian political life had been peppered in recent times, especially in the stage of Silvio Berlusconi, by incessant cases of public corruption at all levels, which had been set up the structures of the Italian State to the edge of the abyss.

In addition to the problems indicated, and as important as them, the question of Italian national identity had re-emerged with force. Prodi, in this sense, presented a program in which federalism was the only formula that, from their point of view, could solve the problem.

Economic policy practised, as in various countries of the European Union, was basic and fundamental intended to comply with the requirements specified in the Maastricht Treaty of 1992, principles of convergence required to gain access to the last phase of economic integrity, with the implementation of economic and Monetary Union EMU. During the election campaign, Prodi promised, despite the difficult economic situation of the country, placing Italy within the Group of the elect in the first phase of the EMU, as this was the case in May 1998.

Within this same area of the European Union, Prodi said at the Cardiff Summit, which brought together the heads of State and Government of member countries, which would leave the Group of the European people's party if they are supported in the Parliament in Strasbourg MEPs twenty representatives of Forza Italy, as they claimed the President of the Government of SpainJosé María Aznar and German Chancellor Helmut Kohl. They defended the admission of members of Forza Italy as a means of gaining force in the European Parliament against the Socialist parliamentary group. For both leaders, Prodi had an ambiguous position, since it was led by a center-left coalition in Italy, made up mostly of Communists, and however at European level is aligned with the more moderate Conservatives.

Romano Prodi presented his resignation to the President of the Republic Oscar Luigi Scalfaro in October 1997, which did not accept even if did a year later; He was replaced by Massimo D'Alema. After 876 days in power, the progressive Government of Romano Prodi became the second longest in the history of the Italian Republic. The first was still the Bettino Craxi (1983-1986).From the time of his resignation, his name appeared as a main candidate for the Presidency of the European Commission. The early resignation of the Luxembourger Jacques Santer, on 15 March 1999, forced the heads of State and Government of the EU to rush a nomination that was planned for the month of June, after the elections to the Parliament. On March 24, at the Berlin Summit, the Fifteen agreed his name to lead the first EU Executive of the next millennium. Soon after, on 5 May 1999, the plenum of the European Parliament adopted, by an overwhelming majority, his appointment as President of the European Commission, replacing Jacques Santer. Prodi, who acceded to the Presidency of the European Commission in the Kosovo conflict, was to recover the traditional alliance between the European Parliament and the Commission and lead the internal reform of this institution, tainted by allegations of fraud and nepotism.

His administration was marked by the institutional opening of the EU to the countries of the East and the timetable for enlargement, effective in May 2004, it became the fifteen in 'the Europe of the 25' club. The physical introduction of the euro and the agreement on the Constitution also joined as great conquests of its mandate. After the five years, Prodi made his last speech to the European Parliament on October 13, 2004 and was replaced by Portuguese Barroso. Shortly after leaving Brussels, immediately returned to domestic politics to assume the leadership of a new Alliance of progressive forces that, in the face of the legislative elections of 2006, file battle with Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.

Romano Prodi celebrating its victory in the 2006 elections.

Prodi road towards the leadership of Italian Executive started on 17 October 2005 with a landslide win in the primaries of the center-left. 74.1% 25 of the voters chose his candidacy. The legislative of April 2006, one of the most hotly contested history, returned to replace Prodi in the direction of the Italian Government. At the head of the Union, a broad coalition of center-left [olive tree and other left-wing groups], achieved an adjusted victory against conservative House of freedoms [Forza Italy, National Alliance, UDC, Northern League and other right-wing parties] of its historical rival and Prime Minister outgoing, Silvio Berlusconi. The Union won 348 seats in Congress and 158 in the Senate, against 281 members and 156 Senators of the House of freedoms. [Confirmation of the results was delayed until it counted the votes of residents abroad].

On 16 May 2006, the new President of the Republic, Giorgio Napolitano, asked Prodi government formation.

Romano Prodi lost the January 23, 2008 a decisive battle in the Senate for his continuity in office, and presented its resignation 20 months after its inauguration. With 156 votes in favor and 161 against, the Senate rejected the motion of confidence that Prodi had asked after the departure of the coalition Government of the small Christian Democrat party democratic Union for Europe (Udeur) of the former Minister of Justice, Clemente Mastella, under investigation for corruption.

In April 2008 Romano Prodi said goodbye to active politics in Italy, where he was one of their players for more than one decade, after presiding over two brief Governments, 1996-98 and 2006-08, and have been the historic rival of Silvio Berlusconi. "Professore" bye had a taste bitter for him, since his Government fell by the confrontation between the allies of the center-left coalition and the treason of some of them, who withdrew their support in the Senate and made him lose the vote of confidence.

However, it beat until the last moment to keep your complex coalition of 16 parties standing and always remained, despite the obvious internal rifts and the consequent paralysis, that his Government was a project for five years. "I finished with Italian politics," announced March 9, adding as optimistic man that "the future is always beautiful", and that "the world is full not only chances but also duties, and there are many people waiting for a word of peace and support".

Elections held on April 13, 2008 gave the triumph to Silvio Berlusconi. Prodi remained the functions of President of the Council until the inauguration of the new President. Three days later, on April 16, 2008, Prodi became effective his resignation as Prime Minister, during the meeting of the United Nations Security Council, in New York.

In recent years, he has delivered lectures by various universities and has collaborated and written several books. Prodi has been named honorary member of the London School of Economics and Political Science (1989) and an honorary member of the Royal Academy of moral and political sciences of Spain (1997). In May 1999 he received the Schumpeter prize of the Schumpeter Society of Vienna. In addition, he has received several honorary academic awards around the world.