A transcript of the highlights of the FT’s interview with Romano Prodi, Italy’s prime minister, in Rome on November 5:
Financial Times: As president of the European Commission in 2004 you were a strong proponent of enlargement, when directive 38 governing the movement of EU citizens was passed. The Italian interior minister, Giuliano Amato, has criticised aspects of this directive. With the benefit of hindsight do you think the European Union failed to anticipate the consequences of opening its borders in this way to countries like Romania and Bulgaria, and that this was a mistake?
ROMANO PRODI: No I don’t think it was a mistake because it was a shared view of all the EU countries. Clearly the so called enlargement was not a short term sighted decision. It was a long term historical decision and clearly everybody knew how difficult was the process and I think that this process has been much more positive, taken together, than anyone could think in terms of changing institutions of the new countries and especially in terms of democracy. I think the results we had through enlargement are unique in the world. I used to repeat that is the only way of exporting democracy