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Prodi Says German Companies Will Defend Interests, Back Euro

Romano Prodi, Italy's former prime minister
A file photo shows Romano Prodi, Italy's former prime minister during the political assembly in Rome. Photographer: Victor Sokolowicz/Bloomberg

Former European Commission President Romano Prodi said he’s optimistic about the euro as companies in Germany, the region’s biggest economy, defend their interests and back the currency.

“The German business community can only back” the euro, Prodi, also a former Italian prime minister, said today in a speech in Rome.

Italian and Spanish Prime Ministers Mario Monti and Mariano Rajoy, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande gathered in Rome today for a four-way summit as the International Monetary Fund said the region’s governments need a “strong commitment” to the euro. They’ll join other European leaders in Brussels on June 28-29 to try to resolve conflicting visions of the region’s economy.

“Since the crisis began, there have been some 25, 26 summits and interventions have been more and more limited, always insufficient and always late,” said Prodi, who headed the Brussels-based Commission between 2001 and 2006. “I have the impression that the summit on June 28 won’t be decisive.”

Prodi said political divisions among the main European governments may make resolving the crisis more difficult.

“Germany has a long-term vision, but it doesn’t want to walk in the direction of that vision,” Prodi said. “The French don’t want a long-term vision but are inclined to act.”

He also criticized remarks by former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, who earlier this week said the idea of Italy leaving the euro is “not blasphemy” and that the nation’s companies may be better off if the single currency were “finished.”

“For the time being, it’s him who’s finished,” Prodi said of Berlusconi, who succeeded him as prime minister in 2008.

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