'A very lively and witty survey of Europe's ills.'
Dominique Moisi, author of The Geopolitics of Emotions
"A thoughtful and provocative cautionary tale that Americans should read if they want to see how our own increasing regulatory structure, accelerating entitlements, and ballooning national debt could lead to the same decline that the author so clearly describes in Europe. Francesco Bongiovanni mixes common sense with an experienced eye for the details that show how utopianism overwhelmed the benign postwar vision of a united Europe and resulted in a nightmare. His description of the EU bureaucracy as an organization of 40,000 souls, a budget of 126 billion Euros, and the ambition to control every part of European life is lamentable proof of Kafka’s vision."
John Lehman, Former Secretary of the Navy in the Reagan Administration and a member of the 9/11 Commission
'In view of the current crisis in the European Union in general and the Euro zone in particular, the arrival of this book could not be more timely. It is a comprehensive review of the way the initial favourable development of the E.U. has gone wrong and the range of problems it currently faces. Should be read by every MP in the Union's 27 countries!
Stephen Valdez, author of An Introduction to Global Financial Markets
"Revealing. A valuable tool for those who are interested in understanding the roots of the current Eurocrisis and for decision-makers engaged in limiting its bitter consequences".
Lucio Caracciolo, Limes, Italian Review of Geopolitics, editor-in-chief
"It has become impossible to pretend otherwise: Europe is in steep decline. The Continental dream of economic prosperity, social security and international good citizenship has given way to a nightmare of chronic unemployment, unsustainable debt, demographic decline, political paralysis and street violence. In The Decline and Fall of Europe, Francesco Bongiovanni offers the most perceptive account to date of a Europe that indulged too many illusions and is now awakening to bankruptcy".
Bret Stephens, Foreign Affairs Columnist - The Wall Street Journal
'Provocative and alarming, a wake-up call for the twenty-first century.'
Nils Pratley, The Guardian
'An important read for anyone interested in the future of Europe.'
John Paulson, President, Paulson & Co. Inc
"The European Union's mood has improved as its economies pick up, the euro crisis fades, migration and terrorism fears pass and even Brexit no longer provokes concern. In his new book, Francesco Bongoivanni warns against complacency. The gap between Europe's elites and its citizens is glaring; north-south and east-west tensions persist; the euro and migration crises could easily return. All this makes plans to build a united states of Europe wholly unrealistic. His gloomy message should be heeded, especially in Brussels, Berlin and Paris."
John Peet, Political Editor, The Economist
Severe but necessary. An extreme lucidity that should bring Europe, through its ever-closer union, to political initiatives able to safeguard its traditional values and new common interests in the midst of an inescapable universal revolution.”
Georges Berthoin (Former chief of staff of Jean Monnet - a founding father of Europe -, former High Representative of the European Economic Community with the United Kingdom)
“Europe—as presently constructed—is no longer fit for purpose. With his trademark style, Bongiovanni takes an unflinching look at what led the continent to this moment. Do not read this book if you’re optimistic about Europe’s future—but read this book if you care about that future.”
Ian Bremmer (president and founder of Eurasia Group, leading global political risk research and consulting firm)
“Francesco Bongiovanni's "The End of the Age of Innocence" presents an unsettling but coherent view of Europe's future. It is a view which is not usually heard in polite European circles but one which is often heard privately. Bongiovanni worries about what he sees as a fight for the soul of Europe.”
George Yeo, (Former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Singapore)
“Bongiovanni is right: the West in general doesn’t seem to know anymore what it stands for or where it wants to go. Europe is particularly lost and adrift. This book provides a valuable and timely wake-up call. Europeans ignore it at their own peril.”
Kishore Mahbubani, (Dean, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy NUS, author of “Has the West lost it? A Provocation” (Penguin UK).”)
“A brilliant reconstruction of an inevitable disaster or a doomsday interpretation of the Union's future? The analysis goes to the roots of the socio-economic European malaise that threatens our common dream, the salvation of which desperately requires acts of political bravery“
Leonardo Maisano, European affairs commentator
It’s tough when you design a grand statesman-like project, a geopolitical wonder, but you don’t do it in the age of Bismarck or Napoleon or even Atilla the Hun: you do it in the age of celebrity. That may be the key to all the troubles with Europe.We definitely have a Europe Project, a European Union, a European Community; so it’s a geographical abstraction with clout. It may be hard to know where it’s going, or even exactly what it is, but that’s no problem: Jacques Delors himself called it “an unidentified political object”. Meantime we can be proud of a gross national product a trillion dollars ahead of the US, if you add up all 27 members, and we have seven out of ten of the richest people in the world, so Francesco Bongiovanni says; and his business is rich people, so he should know.On the other hand, Europe is watched, minute by minute, like some great but ageing star with just a suggestion of cellulite. It is subject to the market equivalent of paparazzi, the short-termers, and it has a serious problem with public relations, gone from potential giant to potential bankrupt in this century: a continent with dizzying rates of unemployment, huge bills for welfare, subject to a violent austerity in which almost nobody actually believes. Even the German economy managed to shrink by 4.7 per cent in 2009, which makes its later growth figures a bit less impressive.
Bongiovanni finds the “foul smell” of decay, he thinks Europeans are addicted to a sense of entitlement, but even he would like to be proved wrong. He still thinks that Project Europe is “noble and indispensable”.Seven years ago, the bookshops were crammed with works of prophecy: Europe will be the superpower of the 21st century and teach the world how to live right. Europe has found the safe way between Gordon Gekko capitalism and Joseph Stalin statism. The message is rather different now. The bookshops are full of books that say Europe is falling apart, in unstoppable decline and has to learn to live very differently: no more luxuries like workers’ rights or pensions. Europe is now a warning to the world (and most particularly, to the US) .Throw in a few facts, and this shift seems exaggerated, more grand guignol than dramatic. Before the euro crisis, both Ireland and Spain were running a surplus on the current account; Europe hadn’t failed them, yet. Before the rise of the rich persons’ ultra-Right in America, Europe was an alternative, not a warning. The trouble is a kind of indecision that could still make nonsense of the whole.The euro is the classic case. It was devised to bring Europe together, to enforce a kind of fiscal uniformity and take away wilful national powers; it was meant to make Project Europe real. But since nobody was quite sure what Project Europe was, nobody wanted to give up much. The result is a currency with too many central banks – and one set of over-rigid rules that nobody can afford to obey. Even the current school prefects, virtuous Germany and arrogant France, insist everyone play by rules about how much they can overspend and how much they can borrow; but when the euro began, the first nations to break those rules were Germany and France, and they flatly refused to pay any penalty. The Netherlands in 2005 voted “no” on Europe’s latest semi-constitution, mostly because it was tired of such shenanigans. Circumstances change; laboriously haggled treaties can’t. Europe is full of a variety which could be the source of prodigious energy – a kind of cultural fusion – but Brussels has a passion for averaging the continent out; and when it comes to history, Dusseldorf isn’t Lisbon.You can’t pretend a country like Portugal, whose dictator was a professor of economics and blocked as much outside investment as he could, is anything like a mature, sophisticated and very successful manufacturing economy like Germany. You can’t deny that some countries need to devalue their currencies because the alternative is devaluing lives, or that some countries need to inflate their way to the future to pay for schools, roads, hope.You can’t, I can’t, but Project Europe can. Francesco Bongiovanni’s brisk and witty book makes that point most clearly when it comes to immigration policies: nobody talks about them. It has become politically correct not to be political. We’re too busy paying homage to the wonders of Project Europe which is apparently the proof that a decent external tariff on coal will put an end to war – although maybe the exhaustion of 1945, the reasonable self-doubt of Germany in the first few years and the general sense of wellbeing across a plush continent have something to do with it. Besides, you can always go abroad to have a war without spoiling the homeland: think Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya.
“The Scotsman”. Interview: Francesco Bongiovanni, author of The Decline and Fall of Europe, Saturday 28 April 2012; Should anything be done to stop our continental drift? Michael Pye finds a few nuggets of wisdom in the invective of a dejected Europhile.
Basler Zeitung (newspaper), Zurich, Switzerland, June 4th, 2012
Reported by newspaper “The Riviera Woman”: Author Francesco Bongiovanni sums up the European crisis
On Tuesday, December 11th, 2012 , Monaco’s Private Equity and Venture Capital Association(MVCA) held its General Assembly and year-end event at the Monte-Carlo Bay Hotel, outlining its plans for 2013 to its members. The invited guest speaker on this occasion was authorFrancesco Bongiovanni who shared his insights into his much endorsed and provocative book « The Decline and Fall of Europe ». His book was praised by the Wall Street Journal as the best account of the European crisis and the Guardian refers to it as a wake-up call for the twenty-first century. Mr. Bongiovanni, a Harvard MBA and Doctor in Chemical Engineering, spent several decades in Asia and in the Arab world/Africa and the rest in Europe and the USA. He is President and Founder of Codima, a firm based in Monaco and Singapore, active in private equity, M&A and wealth management in Europe and Asia. He has appeared several times in live interviews on the Eurozone on CNBC and Bloomberg. He is author of articles published in Turkish Policy Quarterly on a third way for EU-Turkish relations, and in The Guardian on what he calls « The Lazarus Option », the idea of reviving the defunct currencies of troubled countries alongside the Euro. He also believes Europe should consider introducing a dual-currency structure.