Germany Cannot Be ‘Leader of the World’: Italy’s Prodi

Germanymust accept shared leadership of the European Union if the region is to prosper, ex-European Commission President Romano Prodi, told CNBC on Friday.

Brandenburg Gate, Berlin
Nikada | Vetta | Getty Images
Brandenburg Gate, Berlin

The European Central Bank’s announcement on Thursday that it will commence unlimited purchases of short-term sovereign bonds from struggling euro zone countries was greeted with hostility from both the Bundesbank (Germany’s central bank) and the German press.

(Read More: German Media Hit Back at ECB on Bond Buying)

However Romano Prodi, ex-leader of the European Commission and twice-prime minister of Italy, said it was in Germany’s interest to accept it could not be the sole decision-maker in the euro zone as “Germany alone cannot be leader of the world.”

“If Europe wants to survive, it must have a big European infrastructure,” Prodi said, speaking at the Ambrosetti Forum, an annual international conference held on the shores of Lake Como in Italy.

“Of course Germany will be the leader of that, because of its numbers, its quality, but Germany alone cannot be leader of the world, so — and maybe I’m too rational — I think it in the interest of Germany to share this job with other countries.”

Prodi said that European nations could only compete with the “Asia cluster” if they work together, and added that this applied to Germany too, despite the strength of her industries.

“If we do not build a European supply chain, in which Germany is linking with all other countries, we are lost. Even Germany’s lost,” he said. “This is the new reality.”

Italy’s Parliamentary Election 2013

Regarding Italy’s parliamentary elections next April, Prodi said: “I am not pessimistic about the future of Italian politics. Italy is a strange country — you go to the brink and then there is some sort of collective reaction.”

Prodi added that he had no intention to return to Italian politics. “I am the only one who decided to close the door, so I think I have to be coherent,” he said.

To view Romano Prodi's CNBC appearance online, click here.

— By's Katy Barnato