United Nations Special Envoy and President of the Foundation for World Wide Co-operation Romano Prodi spoke to the Viet Nam News about the importance of co-operation as the pace of globalisation continues to quicken.
|Prof Romano Prodi. — VNS Photo Truong Vi
What is the significance to your trip to Viet Nam this time and do you have a message for the nation?
I am here in Viet Nam because the Vienna-based International Peace Foundation has asked me to take part in their long-term strategy to increase peaceful links among countries. It is part of the foundation's fourth ASEAN event series Bridges – Dialogues Towards a Culture of Peace.
We freely exchange views on how peace can be realised. In my case, I try to exploit my experiences not only in those countries but also experiences from Europe when co-operation has been successful.
We have 22 different languages. We have 27 different countries represented by the same Parliament. Yet we are still pleased to engage in discussions.
Viet Nam is a very populous country, but it cannot develop alone. It cannot develop without co-operation and an aligning market. For Viet Nam, co-operation is life.
I am going to deliver a speech themed "Politics and Peace - worldwide co-operation in the age of globalisation" at the Diplomatic Academy of Viet Nam in Ha Noi today.
What impact will the current political situation in Italy have on bilateral relations between Viet Nam and Italy?
I think there will be no impact. I met the Vietnamese ambassador in Italy last week and also the Italian ambassador here in Viet Nam now. They are doing their utmost to promote links between the two countries.
In European countries, with the contemporary democracy, there are more and more cases like Italy. Nothing happens because it's democracy. At the moment, we have equilibrium among different parties, which would be very difficult to harmonise. So you need time.
But the long-time relations will remain unchanged. I think we have two dynamic ambassadors, who know the countries and understand each other's common interests. So there will be no problem.
As the former President of the EU, what do you think about the idea of an ASEAN Community, which the Southeast Asian nations hope to create by 2015? Is it necessary to set up such a regional bloc, given the fact that there are fears the EU could be close to collapse?
Clearly, you have to make a choice. Progressive agreements are necessary.
Economically speaking, I don't think in the coming future, you will have a common currency because before having a common currency like the EU, you must have senior institutions and share a lot of political experiences.
So it would be a completely different picture but the idea of co-operation must be the same.
Taking lessons from Europe, you can see that it's important to work together. The idea of having a common currency without harmonising the different economic policies will not work. And in Europe, we are obliged to do that. Now, step by step, with the European central bank, we are harmonising our economic policies. Other experiences show that you must do things together.
ASEAN co-operation in general is important for the future. How to achieve this is up to you. You must do it the ASEAN way, not the European way. — VNS