The Italian new government and the bioeconomy: everything needs to change, so everything can stay the same

Enrico Letta and President of the Italian Republic, Giorgio NapolitanoItaly’s new government has been sworn in, ending two months of political deadlock, after politicians agreed on Saturday to form a three-party coalition, which will also include technocrats in key positions.

The impression, however, is to be faced with a handful of men and women engaged in a desperate defense of a power gained in many ways fortuitously, on the verge of sinking at any time in front of a chaos which is hard to dominate. With Silvio Berlusconi came out again as big winner and ready to pull the plug as soon as the polls will comfort him about the possibility of winning elections (even with the current electoral law, which does not guarantee the governability and for no other called by its author, Senator of Lega Nord Roberto Calderoli, like “a crap”). In short, it seems that once again in Italy, to quote from The Leopard by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa, “everything needs to change, so everything can stay the same”.The new government led by Enrico Letta, and supported by a majority that includes the Democratic Party, Pdl led by Berlusconi and Scelta civica (Civic Choice) led by Mario Monti, arises in many respects like a real government of the Restoration, which ignores those demands for change strongly emerged from the elections of 24 and 25 February. Certainly in Italy marks the de profundis of a left reformist party, since the events related to the parliamentary election of the President of the Republic and to the formation of the new government have literally disintegrated the Democratic Party. And in the new government play a prominent role political figures attributable to the old party of the Christian Democrats:  Prime Minister Enrico Letta, Vice Prime Minister Angelino Alfano, and other main ministries (Maurizio Lupi for Transport, Mario Mauro for Defense, Gaetano Quagliarello for Reforms, Gianpiero D’Alia for Public Administration, etc.)

More than anything it is really very difficult to understand what kind of economic and social policies will be able to implement this new government that puts together the Right and the Left (or what’s left of the Left). If we consider those who are the most important ministries with competences on bioeconomy, we can not be very optimistic, although we prefer to stay the proceedings pending concrete acts. The premises are these: minister of Agriculture is Nunzia De Girolamo, a thirty-seven years old lawyer (the youngest minister of the government) that does not seem in the past has ever dealt with the issues that are the responsibility of her ministry. Minister of Environment is Andrea Orlando, who was in charge in the Democratic Party of  issues related to Justice. Minister of Economic Development is Flavio Zanonato, former mayor of Padua, famous for the wall that he built in his town in via Anelli (Anelli Strett) and for his position on immigration more than for his vision of economic growth. Minister of Finance and Economy is one of the technocrats of the government: the former general manager of the Bank of Italy, Fabrizio Saccomanni, very close to the current governor of the European Central Bank, Mario Draghi. Maybe not the most suitable man for questioning in Brussels policy of austerity that is strangling Europe.

We are convinced of the importance of the primacy of politics, we don’t want to say that we wished a government of experts on each subject, a sort of revival of the government of technocrats with Mario Monti, that has already proven not to be a guarantee of good administration, but certainly we wished a strong change of direction, a real change with a government that can govern, with competence, and set a blueprint for development in the coming decades. Perhaps the best thing to do is to change the electoral law to ensure the governability, and immediately give the word to the voters. Italy has no more time to lose. We need a government capable of making real reform, with a new not co-opted ruling class. We need a vision: are we a country in which it is only possible to do the holidays (and in this sense we are facing competition from Spain, Greece and France) or can we be a country where it is possible to invest in research and innovation?

Felice Amori

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