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The cleansing of the Italian state of Draghi has its limitations

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

The president of the Italian labor policy agency, who is being investigated by inspectors for spending 160,000 euros on commuting to the U.S., where he legally lives in Rome, said he was about to lose his government job earlier this month. “Homemade gossip.”

But the next day, the Italian Minister of Labor announced that demographers and statistics professors at Mississippi State University would lose their jobs in the Italian State.

Parisi Prime Minister Mario Draghi is in Paris because he wants to renovate state-controlled companies and other institutions before he starts pouring 220 billion euros into EU funds and approving structural reforms. Without such a reform, analysts have warned that a large part of that money is in danger of being wasted.

“What’s at stake. . . it is the future of the country, “said Maurizia Iachino, a corporate governance consultant.

So far, in his first three months, he has replaced Draghi, former director general of the Treasury and head of Italy’s central bank, national commissioner Covid, head of the civil protection agency and head of Italy’s secret services. that work the first woman to direct the office.

“It’s just a problem-solving approach,” a senior official said.

Mimmo Paris lost his job as president of the Italian labor policy agency © Massimo Di Vita / Mondadori via Getty Images

Dismissal from state office is part of the Draghi government’s overall effort to depoliticize the bureaucracy, which is in the hands of the state’s inefficiency and poor management.

Other changes are expected soon. In the coming months, the terms of the 74 boards of directors will expire in 90 publicly-sponsored companies, according to advice CoMar. Fifteen of them, with combined revenues of more than € 70 billion, are directly controlled by the finance ministry.

The changes are taking place because of Draghi’s credibility as head of the European Central Bank. This has given him some “autonomy” from traditional politics consistent with such designations, said Nicola Pasini, a professor of political science at the Milano Statale di Milano.

“It can be based on professional ability and quality compared to political affiliation,” he said.

It is the kind of change that Italy needs chronically. The cleansing of the state administration is part of what Giuliano Amato, who led efforts to privatize Italy as prime minister in the early 1990s, recently called the country’s need to end political “pollution”.

“Publicly sponsored companies end up in the hands of political parties [and their demands] that changes the function, ”Amato told the Italian newspaper Republic.

The first of the state-owned companies that could change as soon as this month are the state-owned investment banks Cassa Depositi e Prestiti and the state railway Ferrovie dello Stato, both of which will be the main beneficiaries of EU money.

Both companies are “key in the context of the EU recovery fund,” Iachino said.

The issue is particularly notable for the railway operator, as the investigation has put it in jeopardy insurance and IT he made contracts. The group also took part in the bankruptcy of the national airline Alitalia, and its management recently approved the creation of a number of performance bonuses – a net loss of 562 million euros in 2020 while receiving 1.1 billion euros related to Covid.

However, according to analysts and investors, Draghi will need to do much more than change some senior executives to significantly change Italy’s dynamic political and corporate roots.

“Draghi. . . he was put in charge with a very specific order [linked to Italy’s post-pandemic recovery]”What needs to be changed for long-term change to happen is bureaucrats and implementation processes.”

One limitation of the change is that while Draghi may install new CEOs, board-level appointments are likely to be subject to political influence.

“Draghi will focus on the top jobs,” Iachino said. “This means that the appointments of directors will be left in the hands of the usual party dynamics… A huge political symbol still has to be paid.”

It may be too short a time for Draghi’s tenure to change the country’s institutional apparatus of error.

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

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

This, in turn, has raised the question of how long Draghi can serve as prime minister.

Salvini said his party will be ready to side with Draghi to have Sergio Mattarella as president next February, an attitude that other parties could accept and that would lead to a general election.

But it would mean that Draghi will not oversee the implementation of the reforms, nor the spending of EU recovery funds certified as prime minister.

“There’s a lot of work to be done to change the system a lot, and that’s why many expect Draghi not to have Mattarella next February,” Iachino said.

“But at the same time, we cannot be fooled that he will continue to be prime minister for the next 10 years,” he added. “That would mean continuity – and when have we ever seen continuity in this country?”


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