John Hooper is Rome correspondent of The Economist and The Guardian and an occasional contributor to The Financial Times. His experience as a foreign correspondent spans more than 25 years. He has lived in every major capital in western Europe – Paris, Madrid, Rome and Berlin – and speaks fluently all five major languages of western Europe. He was central Europe correspondent of The Guardian and The Observer, based in Berlin, from 1999 to 2003 and southern Europe correspondent, based in Rome, from 1994 to 1999. He also had two spells as Madrid correspondent of The Guardian, firstly from 1976 to 1979 during Spain’s transformation from dictatorship to democracy and secondly from 1988 to 1994. This experience resulted in The Spaniards: A Portrait of the New Spain (1987), which won the 1987 Allen Lane award, and its successor The New Spaniards (1995).