The purge of the Italian State of Dragons has its limits


It wasn’t long before Mimmo Parisi had to eat his words.

The president of Italy’s labor policy agency, which is being investigated by the auditor for spending € 160,000 on first-class travel from Rome to the United States where he is legally resident, has dismissed reports earlier. month he was about to lose his government post as “Housekeeper.”

But on Monday, Italy’s labor minister announced that the Mississippi State University demographic and statistics professor will lose his Italian state job.

Paris is just the latest leader to have Mario Draghi, the prime minister, seek to renew state-controlled companies and other institutions before 220 billion euros of EU funds start pouring in and structural reforms are in place. pass. Without such reforms, much of this money risks being wasted, analysts have warned.

“It’s at stake.” . . it is the future of the country, “said Maurizia Iachino, corporate governance consultant. Draghi’s job changes, which seek to introduce more professional appointments, come after consulting” with the people she trusts, who are mainly related to his past experiences as a civil servant, ”he added.

So far, during his first three months in office, Draghi, former director general of the Treasury and head of the Italian central bank, has replaced national commissioner Covid, head of the civil protection agency and head of the service. Italy’s secret – putting in that work the first woman to lead the bureau.

“It’s just an approach to solving the problems,” a senior official said.

Mimmo Parisi loses his position as president of the Italian labor policy agency © Massimo Di Vita / Mondadori via Getty Images

The sweeping of state posts is part of the Draghi government’s general efforts to depoliticize the bureaucracy amid a spread of hands on state inefficiency and mismanagement.

A host of other changes are planned soon. In the coming months, the terms of 74 boards of directors will expire in 90 publicly supported companies, according to the CoMar advice. Fifteen of them, with combined revenues of more than 70 billion euros, are directly controlled by the finance ministry.

That all the changes are happening is testament to Draghi’s credibility as a former head of the European Central Bank. This gave him some “autonomy” from the usual politics that accompanies these appointments, said Nicola Pasini, a professor of political science at the Università Statale di Milano.

“It can focus on skills and professional qualities as opposed to political affiliation,” he said.

It’s the kind of change Italy needs chronically. State administration police are part of what Giuliano Amato, who led Italy’s privatization efforts as Prime Minister in the early 1990s, recently called the need for country to put an end to the political “contamination” of enterprises.

“Publicly supported companies end up in the hands of political parties [and their demands] which changes its function, ”Amato told the Italian daily The Republic.

First among the state-owned companies where the change may come as early as this month are the investment bank supported by the State Deposit and Loan Fund, and the state-owned State Railways, both of which are destined to be the main beneficiaries of the money. of the EU.

The two companies “are crucial in the context of the EU’s recovery fund,” Iachino said.

The issue is particularly salient for the railway operator, who has been put in turmoil by investigations into insurance and IT contracts he took. The group also participated in the failed rescue of national airline Alitalia, and its board recently approved a series of generous performance bonuses – despite the publication of a net loss of 562 million euros in 2020 while receiving 1.1 billion in subsidies related to Covid.

Yet, according to analysts and investors, it will take much more than Draghi changing a few seniors tasked with changing the deeply rooted political and corporate dynamics of Italy in a meaningful way.

“Dragons. . . he was charged with a very specific mandate [linked to Italy’s post-pandemic recovery]”Said Pasini. “For sustainable change to happen what needs to change is bureaucracies and implementation processes.”

One limitation of change is that while Draghi could install new leaders, appointments at the council level will likely remain subject to political influence.

“Dragons is concentrating on the first few jobs,” Iachino said. “This means that directors’ appointments will be left to the usual dynamics of the parties… There is always a big sign to pay for politics.”

Draghi’s time in office may also be too short to change the country’s flawed institutional apparatus.

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Matteo Salvini, the leader of the right-wing League party, a junior and often confrontational ally in the coalition government, has already expressed skepticism about the Dragons administration’s ability to implement crucial structural reforms.

“Let’s be realistic, it will not be this coalition that will change the justice or tax system,” he said recently. he said The Republic.

He, in turn, raised the question of how long Draghi could stay as prime minister.

Salvini said his party would be willing to support Draghi to succeed Sergio Mattarella as president next February, a position that could be supported by other parties and that would lead to the general election.

But it would also mean that Draghi no longer oversees the implementation of reforms, nor the spending of EU recovery funds he has secured as prime minister.

“There is a lot of work to be done to change the system, which is why many are hoping that Draghi will not succeed at Mattarella next February,” Iachino said.

“But at the same time we cannot fool ourselves that he will remain as prime minister for the next 10 years,” he added. “Does that mean continuity – and when have we ever seen continuity in this country?”



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