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Riccardo Perissich

Riccardo Perissich

Riccardo Perissich was appointed Executive Vice President of the Italian branch of the Council for ...
Tommaso Padoa-Schioppa

Tommaso Padoa-Schioppa

Tommaso Padoa-Schioppa has died on 18th December 2010 in Rome. He was 70 years old. He was ...
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Tommaso the European: Hommage by Riccardo Perissich

on December 22, 2010, 16:10
- Riccardo Perissich and Tommaso Padoa-Schioppa

It has been widely acknowledged that Tommaso Padoa-Schioppa was a great European. But what was his brand of that vague, ambiguous and often abused definition? I have known him for more than thirty years and the comments that follow are based on a long tradition of frequent personal and frank exchanges. He knew what I thought of him. He was a rare example of somebody who is “Spinelli” in his heart and “Monnet” in his mind. I never heard him advocating an instant direct election of a “President of Europe” or even a EU’s budget of more than 5% of the Union’s GDP. Like Monnet, he always asked the question: “What is the next step?” He focused on what is necessary and possible rather than on what is desirable. His intellectual approach to Europe is embodied in his famous paper on the “impossible quadrangle” of a single market, freedom of capital movements, flexible exchange rates and national monetary policies; a paper that set the conceptual basis for the single currency. Like Monnet he knew that European solutions are only possible when national governments are trapped in unsolvable contradictions. He also knew that what we were doing was inherently unstable and that there would be inevitable new challenges created by past achievements, whose outcome would, again, be unpredictable. However, he never doubted that a European Federation should be the final objective. I cannot help thinking that Jacques Delors belongs in the same category of “Europeans”. I heard that, after Tommaso’s death he said, “He was more federalist than me”; however I suspect that the difference is more emotional than rational. After all, Tommaso was Italian: a true one, of a breed whose genes are sadly being lost. Like Delors, he had the rare gift to be able to simplify complex subjects...
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