Gentiloni: "Lots of funds arriving for the South, the problem will be spending them"

Gentiloni: "Lots of funds arriving for the South, the problem will be spending them"

"Today there is an enormous opportunity" because it will be possible to count on an "unprecedented availability of funds". And therefore "the real problem will be spending" these resources. The European Commissioner for the Economy, Paolo Gentiloni, rings the alarm clock at the Euro-Mediterranean Economy Festival (Feuromed) underway in Naples. «The Pnrr brings, and according to our estimates, will bring the GDP from 22 to 23.5%, marking a significant step forward. Up to 2026 with the Pnrr alone, 86 billion euros will arrive », explains Gentiloni. It is a challenge that cannot be missed, and that public administrators, after decades spent complaining about blankets that are always too short, cannot go wrong.

"An extraordinary effort is needed - underlines the commissioner connected via video with the Sala dei Baroni of the Maschio Angioino - largely connected to human capital and to our universities".

Only by making the most of the prospects that will open up, observes Gentiloni, will it be possible to bridge the eternal gap between North and South which continues to grow ("the share of GDP in the South has gone from 25% to 22% in recent years") and try to connect the whole Mediterranean. Because, is the synthesis of Gentiloni's intervention, in the Mediterranean lies a development force that can drive Europe. Just see what happened with the energy. «The war has revealed the dependence on Russian gas and the EU response has been extraordinary, in 10 months we have reduced the import of Russian gas from 40% to 7%, incredible. But now we know well that the road is not downhill and that the South has a possible and important role both in terms of diversification and renewables - analyzes Gentiloni - We have a substantial part of the connections that arrive in the Mediterranean in the Regions of the South and we are aware that on renewables already today the South contributes 50% to Italian production». The South therefore has potential in its 'belly'. “The vertical perspective is crucial here. We come from years in which the horizontal perspective and the relationship between us and Russia dominated our policies. But we must know that the destiny that geography determines is vertical, towards Africa - insists Gentiloni - It is Europe's relationship towards Africa where in the next 20 years we will have billions of people with demographic and social challenges, an extraordinary prospect of restoring centrality to the Mediterranean and therefore to the South. I believe that this must be more than ever a great European perspective. And at the center of this is a renewed protagonism of the South and its human capital».

The watchword, therefore, is to roll up your sleeves. The ministers invited to the Festival respond presently. Nello Musumeci, owner of the Civil Protection and Marine Policies department, is betting everything on infrastructure development and on the construction of the bridge over the Strait: we need to create "a homogeneous development pole that can project towards the Mediterranean" to fill the gaps existing up to now . "We have to make up for 40-50 years of absence of a growth and development project" for the Southern Regions, Musumeci explains, underlining how even Europe has never had "a plan for the Mediterranean" which "is no longer a sea of frontier but hinged sea». And a 'natural' hinge cannot fail to be, in the vision of Musumeci and the Government, the Bridge over the Strait: «From the point of view of economic growth, the bridge over the Strait can become, together with other infrastructures, the growth engine of the regions of the South. It will serve to give Southern Italy the function of logistic base for Europe in the Mediterranean. It will not have positive effects only for Sicily and Calabria». As regards the times of realization, the minister, in emphasizing not to make "time forecasts because the pitfalls are always around the corner", spoke of "one year for the executive project and five years for the realization". Another crucial issue for the development of the South is infrastructure. Musumeci observes: «The port system is efficient, the ability to work on short and long routes, the ability to build rear ports and to process the goods, and not just unload them, make better use of the sea motorways, rail, road intermodality wheeled and ports, are the challenges, together with a sustainable system of environmental protection, that await us and that we must be able to meet". So Musumeci also addresses the public administrators asking for a change of pace: «We Southerners carry with us some character flaws, and I say this as a Sicilian: we must overcome the conception of fatalism, of resignation, we must dare, make the ruling classes responsible, seize a extraordinary opportunity".

The Minister of Enterprise and Made in Italy Alberto Urso instead claims the centrality of «sea and space»: «They are the future of our country. They are two important assets».

The mayor of Naples Gaetano Manfredi says he is ready for the challenges for the use of Pnrr funds: «We are perfectly in line with the times, the projects are proceeding regularly and now, this year, we are moving on to the implementation phase which is the challenge bigger". «I had great fears about the projects and about finding funding - he explains - but we overcame this phase brilliantly and now the construction phase is starting, for which times are very tight: the Italian bureaucracy is terrible and this is the real challenge ». The former rector and former minister presses his foot on the accelerator, galvanized by the golden moment in Naples and Campania. The capital and the region "are experiencing a moment of great transformation: the economic indicators are positive, the GDP has grown as well as exports". Manfredi's hope, then, cannot fail to be that «Naples can and must be a bridge between two fundamental realities such as Europe and Africa, a young continent that wants to be the new protagonist of global realities, which wants to grow and has great potential. "We must leverage - he concludes - the ability to create training networks on the shores of the Mediterranean with University networks that help the new ruling class grow".

Projects but also the recovery and protection of identity. The Minister of Culture Gennaro Sangiuliano focuses on the issue of enhancing the 'roots' of a territory, and specifically of Italy, as a starting point for a new opportunity for development: «I am trying to work on building an Italian imagination in the world, to a projection of Italy's value, its history, its sediments and its way of life». For Sangiuliano this is possible by recovering and strengthening the «values ​​of a culture of identity». «In Italy - says the minister - there are 5 million works and we exhibit only 480 thousand. There is a hunger for Italian culture in the world and this is demonstrated by the data according to which our museums have returned to the levels of 2019 in a few months and are also, in the good sense of the term, a 'money machine'". Not only that: the appeal that Italy has is also proved by the data that emerged from a research, cited by the minister, according to which "the vast majority" of citizens living in other countries replied that if their own nation didn't exist, they would living in Italy. «Our mission - concludes Sangiuliano - is to cultivate all this and make it an economic value as well and not just an abstract discourse, but a driving force of our economy. We have to sell our imagination and our cultural dimension to the world».

Source link