By Jonathan Wilkinson
BOLOGNA, Italy – On Monday, Oct. 1, Romano Prodi will be returning to SAIS Europe to deliver a keynote address on the strategy behind the EU’s economic cooperation initiatives as part of the first Australia-European Union economic relations dialogue. The keynote will take place in the SAIS Europe Auditorium at 12:00 p.m.
In advance of Mr. Prodi’s keynote, here is a quick briefing on his career and achievements.
Mr. Prodi began his career as an academic. From 1963 to 1999, he taught at the University of Bologna and a host of other institutions, including SAIS Europe.
Mr. Prodi entered into politics in 1978 when he was appointed as the Italian Minister of industry. In 1982, Mr. Prodi was appointed chairman and CEO of the Institute for Industrial Reconstruction (IRI), and proceeded to privatize several large, prominent state-owned enterprises, such as Alfa Romeo.
Economic and political centrism was a hallmark of Mr. Prodi’s political career. After his Olive Tree centre-left coalition won the 1996 national election and designated him to be prime minister, his cabinet introduced measures that enabled Italy to meet the Eurozone ascension criteria established in the Maastricht Treaty. Mr. Prodi then became president of the European Commission in 1999. His tenure was marked by the development of many of the policies that shaped the EU as we know it today: the introduction of the euro and the EU’s enlargement by 10 countries in central, eastern and southern Europe.
Mr. Prodi returned to the Italian prime ministership between 2006 and 2008 and since then has been a notable statesman, teaching and acting as an envoy of the United Nations to several missions around the world.
As one of Europe’s foremost leaders on economic policy, Mr. Prodi is well-versed to weigh in on the recent Australia-EU Free Trade Agreement negotiations.