martes, 21 de diciembre de 2010

Tommaso, we will not forget you

Tommaso Padoa-Schioppa died suddenly this weekend in Rome at the age of seventy. He was an Italian trilingual politician and economist, former Finance Minister and co-founder of the ECB, but mostly an activist for the federalist cause. His name is familiar to all of us who have studied European integration affairs. His reports and publications are the cornerstone to understand what's behind European core policies, such as cohesion, structural and regional policy. He has been one of the most influential philosophers and intellectuals in the EU, particularly concerned with the creation and shaping of proper institutions. In the late 1980s he diagnosed that the single market and the four freedoms were unsustainable with independent domestic monetary policies and fixed exchange rates. The answer was to create a single currency and a European Central Bank.

Together with the Nobel awarded Mundell, Padoa-Schioppa is widely regarded as the father of the euro, and was the first political actor to fight for the single currency; he developed the schedule for currency conversion and was decisive at persuading European heads of State and Government to push for the euro. The Italian even defined the euro as a currency without a state. He was greatly inspired by the notions of monetary stability, budgetary discipline and competition policy, and he played a crucial role at laying the foundations for the European Monetary Union, and campaigned very hard during his life to ensure a stronger Europe.

He has always been one of the relevant celebrities reminding us of the dangers of the lack of political union in Europe.

He’s lived enough to take heart of the existence and survival of the euro, the single currency, overcoming especially hard times with increasing (though still insufficient) self-confidence. In the last years he’s been a tireless worker on financial reform, both in the EU and abroad, being aware that the economic governance needed urgent and further innovation. He believed that the Eurozone had to be secured by a federal budget, or in other words a proper economic government in the European Union. There’s still a long way to go, and we are still on the battle for the survival and strengthening of the euro.

Tommaso embodied the spirit of the EU for he was passionate of European integration, and he had intellect and vision, being able to show us we shouldn’t limit our dream of a Federal Europe, more democratic, legitimate and effective too. As he once said, our new currency unites not only economies but also the people of Europe. He was the kind of people able to translate the European ideal into real and fully-fledged projects. This is the kind of people we need leading Europe.

N. B.: This is my humble tribute to Padoa-Schioppa and to all the European Federalists. Tommaso, non ti dimentichiamo. No te olvidamos. No t'oblidem.