Monitor: Romano Prodi

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Italian press comment on the appointment of their former Prime Minister as the new EU president

La Repubblica

FOR PRODI it's the start of an uphill climb. After the grey Santer, many people are expecting a new Delors - that is, a man with vision, charisma, capable of giving new life to grand ideals, but at the same time a managing director able to reform the Brussels bureaucracy and clamp down on waste. If valid alternatives to Prodi have not emerged it is also because in this era the Old Continent is not exactly full of great statesmen in love with the idea of Europe. An Italian in Brussels risks being squashed by the more powerful nation states that for 40 years have wielded technocratic power.

L'Unita

A DECISIVE factor was the force with which Prodi's candidature was supported by the Italian government and by the Italian left. No one can ignore the fact that what gave him the major thrust was a "diplomatic" initiative. The trips abroad, the personal contacts, even the extraordinary occasion of the Congress in Milan of the PSE (Spanish Socialist Party) have been the strong points of this offensive. All this in the face of those who even a couple of days ago said that the candidature of Prodi was a sort of trap.

Corriere della Sera

THE DESIGNATION of Prodi is not the result of a casual convergence of interests. It's the result of a deep change in equilibrium in Europe which has come about with monetary unification. In the summit that in a couple of weeks will mark his official investiture, the president in waiting will be given a wide mandate, and the task of managing the institutional reforms the European Union so desperately needs to bring its own mechanisms into line with its new political dimension.

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