Proceedings of the conference ‘Single Mediterranean SEZ. Socio-economic, logistical and geopolitical factors’.

“Single Mediterranean SEZ. Socio-economic, logistical and geopolitical factors” promoted by Eurispes in collaboration with the Permanent Forum of the Mediterranean and Black Sea, Lions Clubs International and the Universitas Mercatorum.

GIOVANNI CANNATA: Good morning and welcome. Thank you to all those who are here in attendance and to those who are streaming in via the web. As Rector of this University, it was with great pleasure that I accepted the invitation I had been given to host this meeting here, to host and involve us in this meeting on the theme “Single Mediterranean SEZ. Socio-economic logistical and geopolitical factors’. I am very pleased for several considerations. First of all, because this is an initiative that we share with Eurispes to which we are linked by a long-standing relationship of collaboration, of appreciation for the work that Eurispes carries out – I am leaving aside the interpersonal relations between Professor Fara and myself, which have been consolidated for some time. Then there is another element that I like to emphasise: the initiative is promoted by the Lions Clubs, as I recalled I had the privilege of being awarded a “Melvin Jones” prize by the association and therefore I know perfectly well the activity that is carried out and I am pleased with this participation; then I see the presence of the Observatory on the Mediterranean, which is another focal point for ascertaining prospects, and then the underlying theme, which is a significant and intriguing one with the times we live in, a theme that I had the opportunity to follow some time ago, at the time of the birth of the SEZs, sitting on the Observatory of the Banco di Napoli, then Intesa, which dealt with Mediterranean trade. I followed this matter very closely, but today we are faced with a completely new situation, so the role and importance of the instrument, I think, should be very clear to all those who listen to us, because the issue of Special Economic Zones is central. Some countries, particularly in the Mediterranean, have made it a very significant strong point – I am thinking of the whole Moroccan experiment and what it has meant. Then if we put this in a condition, such as the current one, where there is this geopolitical attention to maritime traffic and the activities that develop, we certainly understand that the topic is central. The topic will be addressed with contributions from many scholars. I will not greet them all to avoid omissions, but I am very pleased that this re-reading exercise is taking place at a critical time in the evaluation of Special Economic Zones with the transition from territorial zones to the Single SEZ with a number of points hinted at and not resolved. This says a lot about the need for an in-depth study, which is precisely scientific in nature, but also, if you like, an in-depth study of a formative nature, because preparing an operation of this kind also means, how should I put it, significantly involving the training of the operators who must lend themselves to it. The topics of the two round tables – then I will pass the floor to the guests – are central: the stability of the regulatory framework and procedural simplification, I don’t have to tell anyone, are the topics that are on the country’s agenda. The theme of procedural simplification is certainly very central; the theme of the design and management of new geopolitical models of infrastructure is equally strong – I was made to think back over the last few days to what engineer De Lesseps thought when he took on the task of making a hole in the Suez Canal with the times that are passing and with the return to having to make circumnavigations. This on the subject of Geopolitics really says a lot. Of course the topic is central for our country: this is a country that from the point of view of the evolution of logistics still has to make significant steps forward. It is no coincidence that we chose some time ago to activate a degree course in which the theme, in the engineering class, of mobility and sustainable mobility is central. Therefore, this movement, this world in which we buy we don’t know from where and sell we don’t know from where – which we do know in the end – this world that turns significantly in the system of goods and commodities is an important topic for reflection. I wish you good work. Unfortunately further commitments take me elsewhere, but I will follow you in part through the net. Thank you and good work to all.

FABIO INSENGA: Thank you Professor Cannata and let’s rewind the tape. Let me introduce myself I am Fabio Insenga, Deputy Director of the Adnkronos news agency, and I will help you with today’s proceedings, which is an important conference from many points of view. Professor Cannata has already mentioned the economic factors, the geopolitical factors, which make this topic particularly central. I will limit myself to a few journalistic headlines before giving the floor to Professor Fara, President of Eurispes. Let us talk, if we reason in economic terms, about everything that is an economic zone and therefore administrative simplifications, tax concessions, customs facilitations. Professor Cannata mentioned the geopolitical theme. What is happening in the Middle East, what is happening in the Red Sea, tells us even more how central – with respect to the Single Special Economic Zone and therefore to this further step forward that has been taken on SEZs – the Mediterranean can be in international trade and in a world undergoing profound transformation. So I give the floor to Professor Fara, President of Eurispes.

GIAN MARIA FARA: Good morning everyone. Distinguished Rector, dear friend Professor Cannata, thank you for your hospitality. I would just like to thank the Mercatorum University for its hospitality and active collaboration in this important occasion for meeting and reflection. I warmly thank Lions Club International, the permanent forum of the Mediterranean-Black Sea for the important stimulus they have given to all of us to reflect on such an important topic as this conference and to try to make a positive contribution of ideas and proposals. There is no doubt that the decision to set up a single Special Economic Zone for the regions of Southern Italy is a great challenge not only for Southern Italy, but for the entire country and also, I would add, for the European system in view of the large size of the territory involved and its central position in the Mediterranean area. We have dissolved the many small Zes and made a big one, dare I say huge. For some time now, as Eurispes, we have been paying attention to the importance of this tool for the promotion of local and regional development; the analyses published in recent years in our Italy Report, the articles and comments that have appeared in our online magazine, the dossiers and evaluations drawn up, in particular, by our observatories and laboratories bear witness to this. As early as 2017, in fact, the Institute signalled through the BRICS Laboratory, coordinated by our Secretary General Marco Ricceri, the need for Italy to equip itself with the instrument of SEZs. Marco was the discoverer of the BRICS: one day an institute came and said ‘There is something called BRICS’ and we were intrigued and tried to understand what it was, and it stood for Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, and we discovered that the BRICS were in fact monopolising, they were occupying our home, because since these countries had no direct projection on the Mediterranean they had thought it best to occupy, not manu militari, but manu economica, the Mediterranean basin by financing the countries of North Africa. We therefore pointed out the need for Italy to equip itself with the instrument of the ZES to ensure that our ports did not further lose competitiveness within the Mediterranean basin, and internationally. We can say, without a doubt, that our study contributed to giving a strong impulse for our country too to equip itself with Special Economic Zones. Normally, Special Economic Zones, in Italy, as in Europe and in the Mediterranean area with which we are dealing, have always been understood, promoted and organised with reference to limited territories to which the need and/or the opportunity to grant special facilities to favour the economic development of the territories themselves was recognised. This is the case for the approximately one hundred Free Zones, including Special Economic Zones, that have been promoted and have been active for some time in Europe; this is also the case for the Italian ZES that have been the subject of legislation and specific measures in recent years. In this regard, I recall Decree-Law No. 91/2017, converted into Law No. 123 of 2017, and the relevant measures taken by the Draghi government within the PNRR. But, there is no doubt, I repeat, that with the creation of a single Special Economic Zone for the entire territory of southern Italy – decided in 2023 by the Meloni government, presented to the European Commission by Minister Fitto and approved in Brussels by the competent authorities – there is no doubt that with such a decision a great leap forward has been made that calls on everyone, public and private operators, to have great planning capacity and an equally great management capacity. We all know very well how the development of a reality such as that of our Mezzogiorno is full of obstacles and difficulties, considering that the southern question has been dragging on for decades and is still alive and topical. We are all well aware of how public policies in southern Italy have recorded good and even excellent results in certain situations over the years, but also heavy defeats and failures, as demonstrated by the gaps that still exist between the different areas of the country – North, Centre and South. In this situation, involving the entire area of southern Italy in the Special Economic Zone initiative can only represent, in my opinion, two alternative options: either to pin a new formal label on a reality in which one is not able to have a positive impact; or – the alternative – to be able to construct an effective instrument of intervention that allows our South to turn over a new leaf and align itself with the most advanced economic and productive realities of our country and the European system. I sincerely hope that the decision for the Single Economic Zones in Southern Italy will be an opportunity to work positively in this second alternative; and in this regard, I would like to confirm that our Institute is committed to making its own contribution of analyses, ideas, and proposals so that this new chapter in the development of our South and our country can be opened. Of course, I am acutely aware that, in order to embark on this new path, the Italian political class, both majority and opposition, as well as the business world and the world of universities and scientific research, must know how to operate according to two precise conditions: on the one hand, acting with a true public-private partnership and, on the other, knowing how to express an equally true planning and programming capacity. The value and scope of the choice for such a vast Single Economic Zone will be measured not so much on the extent and distribution of incentives and facilities for economic and productive activities – certainly important and necessary – but rather on the launching of a real system government, with an adequate and innovative institutional system and organic plans capable of interacting with each other and creating synergies in the most diverse economic, environmental, social and cultural spheres. This is the challenge we face. Lastly, I would like to thank all those present in the room, and likewise those who were connected remotely to follow the morning’s proceedings, and I wish the speakers who will soon be discussing the topic of the Single European Economic Zone all the best in their work.

FABIO INSENGA: I would like to thank Gian Maria Fara who briefly introduced both the opportunities, the risks, and the need for this great challenge to pass through a system government, which is fundamental. I give the floor to Mr Filly Auriemma President of the Lions Club Nola “Ottaviano Augusto”. Thank you.

FILLY AURIEMMA: Thank you, good morning everyone. As President of the Lions Club that has promoted the Permanent Forum of the Mediterranean and Black Sea for the future of young people, I would like to say a few words to let you know about the project. It stems first and foremost from the aims of Lionism: to provide a forum for open discussions on all issues of common interest, to create and promote a spirit of understanding and understanding among the peoples of the world. Well then, the Club has put its professionalism at the service of these aims with the ambition of creating a unique network based on common values that spreads culture and development, builds environmental protection, promotes security, creates value and opportunities for the peoples who border our sea. We believe that the role of education is crucial in promoting a network that develops solidarity, creates opportunities and provides sustainable employment for future generations. Over the years, we have promoted discussion topics of various kinds, all placed under the umbrella of the Forum. We have talked about ecology, from the analysis of climate change to sustainable developments for the well-being of our seas. We addressed the topic of infrastructure and logistics, starting with the Messina Strait Bridge project and ending with the logistics system serving the Special Economic Zones in the Mediterranean area. We have talked about economic opportunities, starting with an analysis of the advantages of the trans-European trade corridors, and today we are addressing the topic of the single SEZ with you all. I thank everyone, I thank the speakers for being our travelling companions in this in-depth study and I wish you all good work.

FABIO INSENGA: Now I give the floor to Dr Salvo Iannì, First Vice Governor District 108-L.

SALVO IANNÌ: Good morning. Mine is just a simple greeting and I would first of all like to thank the organisers of this meeting, which was very instructive for me, and so I thank them on behalf of the Association that I represent here. Thanks in advance, of course, to all the speakers who will allow us to get a little more insight into what the single Mediterranean SEZ is all about. I personally, until a few days ago, only knew about Decree Law 91 of 2017, but it is obvious that today, not as a learner, I will learn a lot of new things. I do not want to repeat what my friend Filly Auriemma said, but I would just like to say a few words about our Association. Our association was founded in 1917 on an idea of the founder Melvin Jones – we were talking about Melvin Jones recognition earlier. It is an association that has about 1,400,000 members, present in 200 countries, divided into continental areas, then, in cascade, into multi-district areas such as in fact this one, which is the 108, because 108 is the number that has been attributed to our nation, and from here then the districts, which in Italy are 17, and ours, which is territorially the largest and then divided into 132 Clubs. So our mission is clear and perfectly in line with the content of today’s meeting: to empower volunteers to serve their community, to respond to humanitarian needs, to promote peace and foster international understanding through Lions Clubs. Hence, an applause for the dialogue between the various institutions and communities of the Mediterranean and an invitation to us, present in all the countries of this area, to encourage the social, environmental and economic progress of our communities. I borrow some words of my friend Salvatore Napolitano, who was the creator of the Mediterranean Lions network: “Never before has it been so important to open up to new territorial and intellectual realities in order to initiate processes of cultural, economic and labour compensation that are the real contributions to the development of Peace”. Thank you.

FABIO INSENGA: Thank you also to Dr Iannì. Now let’s get into the substance of the work with the first session. I thank the authorities who introduced and I call here Marco Ricceri, Secretary General of Eurispes, Professor Giovanni D’Alessandro, Professor of Public Law at the Cusano University, Professor Francesco Fimmanò, Professor of Commercial Law at the Universitas Mercatorum, Professor Aldo Berlinguer, President of the Eurispes Observatory on Insularity and Inland Areas, and the lawyer Giovanbattista Palumbo, Director of the Eurispes Observatory on Fiscal Policy. Thank you all. So, “ZES Unica: lineamenti e opportunità di recupero della centrale dell’Italia nella politica economica euromediterranea”. This is the title of the session and so we will go into the opportunities and risks that were outlined at the opening of the session. I give the floor to Professor Marco Ricceri, Secretary General of Eurispes, for an introduction to the work.

MARCO RICCERI: Welcome. Two flash introductory thoughts, because it seems to me that the basic concept has already emerged very clearly in the opening speeches. We are facing a challenge that requires the ability of a system government, that is the point, so where economic, fiscal, intertwine with institutional and foreign policy aspects. So, President Fara recalled our focus on the BRICS, which was born, and this is important for this session’s reflection, from the stimulus that had come to us from a series of speeches by Romano Prodi who said: “Look, we are used to saying Mare Nostrum, but in reality the Mediterranean is no longer ours, it belongs to other parties”, that is, China, Russia, Brazil and so on. This is the context we have to keep in mind. We have discovered, for example, that the United Nations, which recognises various maritime areas – the Indian Ocean, South-East Asia, etc. – does not recognise the Mediterranean; for the United Nations, formally, the Mediterranean is a reality divided in two: there is a Southern Mediterranean and there is a Northern Mediterranean. The Southern Mediterranean as a geographic and economic area refers to Cairo (Egypt), the Northern Mediterranean as an economic and geographic area refers to Budapest (when we read Budapest, we were in the CNR headquarters, we wondered what this discourse means and we still have not found the elements of clarity). So when we talk about governing the system, it also means going to mobilise our foreign policy to clarify, at least in the UN, why the Mediterranean is not considered an economic and geographical community. And making a ZES that involves a third of the country, projected to the centre of the Mediterranean, obliges you to clarify these points as well. The third element, which I also see in the title of the forum, is the idea of the enlarged Mediterranean and therefore also of the Black Sea, where there is an international institution recognised by the UN, also financed by the European Union in a very substantial way, exactly built on the European model. So there is a parliamentary assembly, a council, a commission, which have been operating since the late 1990s; hence we have a contradictory situation in which on the one hand there is war and tensions, and on the other there is a common working table, which is a channel for peace in any case. Those in charge of the CSDP, who are rotating ambassadors and foreign ministers, say that we can do a lot of things to safeguard the Mediterranean, to strengthen it – for example the sustainable development of the Mediterranean, the Blue Economy – and so on, but if we don’t also take care of the Black Sea, which is heavily polluted, full of tension, and so on, we will not succeed in our efforts. So to talk about the SEZ is to have an idea of an enlarged Mediterranean: we cannot proceed with an idea of a narrow Mediterranean. Then we cannot forget – this is geopolitics – that in January there was the BRICS enlargement and several countries went with the BRICS, turning their backs on the European Union (Egypt turned its back on the European Union). These are all elements that need to be clarified when you are part of a project as important as the ZES. So, these are the three elements I felt I should put on the table, since they are part of the Euro-Mediterranean economic policy. So, the first speaker is Professor Lawyer Giovanni d’Alessandro, Professor of Public Law at the Cusano University in Rome and member of the STCM.

FABIO INSENGA: Thank you, I give the floor to Professor D’Alessandro who will introduce us especially with respect to the regulatory innovations that the Special Economic Zone entails, in particular he will refer to a single control room and a mission structure. Please.

GIOVANNI D’ALESSANDRO: I have been involved, and I thank the organisers, in various capacities actually, because I am a Lion, I am a member of the Technical Scientific Committee of the Mediterranean Forum, but I am also a member of an Observatory of Eurispes, chaired by the lawyer Palumbo. However, I am fundamentally a constitutionalist and I wanted to introduce the topic of the Single SEZ also in the light of the appeal that the Campania Region has lodged, primarily at the Constitutional Court, for violation of various articles of the Constitution of precisely this new discipline we are talking about today. Therefore, to make things simple, this new discipline, introduced at the end of last year and then consolidated by the conversion law, is subject to the constitutionality examination, which will take place in a year’s time, predictably, on the basis of an appeal lodged by the Campania Region, and it is not certain that there will not be other Regions that will lodge an appeal. In fact, Campania has done so because up to now, in the area of localised SEZs, Campania had been the only Region that had managed to collect investment availability of around one billion euro; instead, the other Regions have less financial interest in this appeal. Let’s start immediately by saying that this single SEZ has a fundamental innovation that already emerged in President Fara’s introduction. Up until now, we only knew of one publication on SEZs worldwide from the World Bank in 2017, which recounts the experience of SEZs throughout the world, therefore China in particular, but also European experiences that have been very successful, including Poland. These are always localised experiences. Now the definition of SEZ is changed, so it is not just a new regulation of SEZs, but it is a new paradigm of SEZs, because Article 9 – Establishment of the Special Economic Zone for the Mezzogiorno – says that it is established as of 1 January 2024 with the regions that you know and can read about, but, in fact, it establishes a new definition, because a new Special Economic Zone today means a delimited area of the State in which the exercise of entrepreneurial economic activities by both companies already operating in the relative territories and those that will set up there can benefit from special conditions in relation to investments and business development activities. This is an absolutely generic definition. If we go to the next slide, you will see that the dynamics of the SEZ have completely changed. The ZES, until the new regulatory amendment, was defined by Decree-Law No. 91/2017 as a geographically delimited and clearly identified area, located within the borders of the State, also consisting of non-territorially adjacent areas as long as they present an economic functional nexus and including at least one port area that is part of the global network of Trans-European Transport Networks, defined by European Union Regulation 1315 of 11 September 2013. In essence, the SEZs were connected to the large European TEN-T transport networks and, in SVIMEZ’s reading of them, they could have been important precisely for a possible role of the ports and hinterlands of the South in the sphere of international goods traffic, their processing and logistics. This was the case until yesterday, that is, until 1 January 2024. Since 1 January 2024, the Zes are, in Italy, something else entirely, or rather the Zes for the Mezzogiorno is something else entirely, which does not prejudice the existence of other types of Zes other than this Single Zes. This alone makes it clear that, while even in my part of Italy, in the province of Salerno, there has been much talk – also as a political issue – of the Salerno retro-port, i.e. the expansion of the port, now the SEZ is something else entirely. This, for example, is a reason for the Campania Region’s appeal to the Constitutional Court, i.e. the State, while it was asking subjects to invest in the area previously planned to build logistics and whatnot, now finds itself having completely changed the rules of the game. Today the ZES is a huge area – the whole of southern Italy – where there are tax advantages, but these are no longer functionally linked to the expansion of the network of ports in the Mediterranean area, and I think this is a radical innovation. Linked to this radical innovation, I would say the philosophy of the SEZ, are the organisational innovations that have alarmed the so-called governors of the regions because there has been a centralisation at government level of all the organisational components of the SEZ. Now we will see in detail what these centralisation moments are, both organisational and operational, because from an organisational point of view there is a control room with a structure that is at the Presidency of the Council of Ministers and there are single procedures and single authorisations. Of course, you have to consider that the territory covered by the SEZ is very large; therefore, if you want to invest in any municipality of Calabria or Campania and so on, you have to deal with the urban planning rules of that municipality, but the solution to the urban planning problem is not done locally, but is done in Rome, which has to apply different urban planning rules, of different provinces, of different regions, and therefore the control room should take charge of bringing together, in service conferences, all the authorities concerned by the authorisations requested, which, of course, however, respond to different rules. I would like to recall that territorial government, i.e. town planning, is a matter of shared competence. So the regions each regulate their own town planning. The request for authorisation also entails the granting of authorisation by way of derogation according to these special, fast-track rules. But it is one thing for the derogation to be made by the Region that has regulated the matter, it is another thing for the State to do so for several Regions that have regulated the matter differently, because at that point it could be a derogation made by the State and then the Constitutional Court could say that the system of town planning as we know it at the regional level is dismantled. This is to give you a picture of the situation, and I am sorry to be inesaustive. A fundamental element of this new discipline is the new aid scheme that is being introduced and above all the introduction of the principle of cumulability; it had been requested before, in many voices, that incentives could be cumulated at a territorial level. Of course, for us this ZES is an opportunity: we have been talking about southern issues for more than 100 years now in our country, but this could actually be an opportunity to relaunch the economy of our south – from the way I speak you will have understood that I am from the south, so there is no need to say that there is also an emotional involvement in this statement of mine. The fact is, however, that, also in view of what was said earlier in the very opening of this conference by both Rector Cannata and President Fara, objectively speaking, it is to be hoped that this political class will be able to bring forward something that is at least linear and clear, because every time the rules are changed, of course, they then have to be adjusted. Like with differentiated autonomy, which we saw approved in 2024, but which has been in the constitutions since 2001, which took 23 years to approve. Now, if we change the rules before these rules settle, that is, before the Constitutional Court says it’s OK, before the Council of State says it’s OK, we risk losing the train of the PNRR funds. Thank you.

FABIO INSENGA: Thank you Professor D’Alessandro. Now let’s move on from the innovation of the regulatory framework, to commercial law with Professor Francesco Fimmanò, who is Professor of Commercial Law at Universitas Mercatorum: ‘Single Zes between unitary strategy and regional localisms’.

FRANCESCO FIMMANÒ: Thank you first of all. Thank you all for being here in our university to all the actors of this conference. I hope that, with all the players in this initiative, we can set up a sort of observatory on what is going to be done in relation to what I am about to tell you, because I wanted to address, in a way that is apparently far removed from my subject, but very close, the issue from a very macro point of view and start from that. What is the great Italian problem, even pre-unification? The great Italian problem – and believe me I am not saying this this time as a southerner, nor am I saying it as a liberal, almost apolitical – is that whatever Italy does on decentralisation is a disaster foretold, because it is the history of this country. But it is not only the history of this country: even in confederate countries, later to become federated countries like the United States, at one point in Tennessee, where there was a frightening improper intermediation, during the New Deal they had to centralise the powers in order to get the territory back on its feet. I had the honour, for reasons related to my family, to my father who was actually involved in southern politics and then to my business law school, to know when I was a boy the great exponents of concrete southernism, that is what it did, and Italy has always been backward, because it arrived late to unification unlike Germany, whose strength derives only from the fact that it actually arrived there with the Zollverein some 60-70 years earlier with industrial union. There was, however, the Golden Age (1950-1968), which the whole world has studied and which was nothing special: it was something conceived at a desk, by great elaborators – keep in mind that today what is lacking is elaboration, in a negative or positive sense: behind Pericles there was Aristotle, behind even the worst dramas of humanity there was elaboration, which today for a series of reasons, linked to globalisation, is lacking. That elaboration I credit in particular – being a Christian Democrat who did not live through the Christian Democrats, for reasons of age I could not vote for it – because I am a scholar of the Camaldoli school, to the ideas of that historical period that gave rise to ‘free and strong’ Italy. In fact, everyone was convinced that the southerner worked badly on his own territory. People like Gabriele Pescatore, who was the president of the Cassa per il Mezzogiorno, physically told me this, because we have improper intermediation. So we have a problem of atavistic improper intermediation, linked even to a genetic cultural fact. The whole of the Cassa per il Mezzogiorno, the whole phenomenon that exploded in the 1950s where we even had, in periods of expansion, a recovery of 2% of GDP over the North, something that economists are still studying today, stems from the fact that at a certain point they said: “look, here we have to manage it from the centre, exactly as happened with the VAT, i.e. the Tennessee Valley Authority” and in fact my constitutionalist friend has already pointed out the problems, which are the Regions. The Regions are a disaster no matter what, we are worse, because while in Verona they are not used to having the President of the Region intervene because the night porter wants to work during the day, that is to say, at a really crazy level, we in the South are used to it. It’s not that the southerner is worse, the southerner has the problem of the pothole. But I am not saying this, but scholars who have studied the failure of the ‘Big Push’, as the Italian affair is called, when everyone was convinced that Italy would overtake everyone, around 1965-66, after which there is the disaster, linked to localism. So I asked to call this report of mine ‘localism’. The problem of the single Zes in this perspective is exactly what happened with the Cassa per il Mezzogiorno. I want to say one thing: coincidentally, the Cassa per il Mezzogiorno managed exactly the same amount of money as the PNRR, only it did 16,000 km of roads, 21,000 km of aqueducts, 42,000 km of electricity grids, 1,600 schools and 165 hospitals. I know these numbers by heart, because they are impressive; imagine if a similar project were to be undertaken today; it took us 30 years to do the Salerno-Reggio Calabria. The figures are merciless. The Single Zes is linked to the PNRR: go and see, also with respect to the 34% equalisation clause, that as long as the Ministries are the central apparatus implementing it, they are implementing it; after that, you will see what will happen. From this point of view, it is obvious that the centralisation of all activities is linked to another big mistake made in the country. The country has always lacked, by its structure, big business. Big business used to be public: it is true that more people were hired, there was redistribution, but today you can be sure that if there were Telecom it would be one of the biggest companies in the world, as, with all its faults, is the case with the Railways. Autostrade we had to buy it back. So how can I judge the Zes Unica, if not well. The question is: will it allow us to overcome the localisms of making the small lakes in Carditello (which is a village close to my country), or things that just don’t make sense? The great approaches, the country (which is backward from an infrastructural point of view) has them and they are the ones we know well: the crossings, the commercial network, the high-speed train, and there is not much to hypothesise in order to spend. The problem is this localism. The constitutional problem, in my opinion, must be overcome, because the Regions are there anyway, they are a disaster by now, and also qualitatively they are poor, because in reality the great Italian bureaucracy has always belonged to the Ministries, so it is enough to see in the Regions something that is going well, agriculture for example, simply because those of the Ministry have been transferred there. Here it is even more of a disaster because the hirings were made to people who had nothing to do, people who have no offices and even now, 30 years, 40 years later, do not even know what the job is. The single SEZ can be a great opportunity. I suggested years ago that it should be accompanied by a constitutional provision that is there anyway (I think it is paragraph 8, 117, that is, enhanced cooperation). A single SEZ with priorities, objectives, how can one not agree? But its implementation in my opinion must inevitably pass through a political approach; the political approach of a technician who puts himself in the SEZ as the Cassa per il Mezzogiorno did, even though this one had a different state structure. Then I would like to say one thing: we all know why the Regions exist, everyone knew, even in the constitution, that they would not work. The problem is that there was fascism and in reality decentralisation is the child of fear of the central state because of fascism. Just read the preparatory work on these issues. How can this be overcome? The solution can only be political, not regulatory, it is not that we are going backwards; the opportunity is too great and the Single European Economic Zone can be the armed arm, but it requires a political force, otherwise we will have the usual fine reasoning, feasibility studies, but then in practice the usual problems will arise with respect to operations, appeals, stories, because I have seen many projects of this type in a context of localism. Thank you.

FABIO INSENGA: Thank you. So, Professor Aldo Berlinguer, President of the Eurispes Observatory on insularity and inland areas. The title is: “Zes Unica and economic-social cohesion: a possible combination”. I read an article of yours in the Unione Sarda of 27 January in which you provocatively say ‘let’s abolish the Mezzogiorno’. I ask you to start from here.

ALDO BERLINGUER: Thank you, thank you to those who are organising this initiative, to those who are hosting us. It always gives me great pleasure to talk about Special Economic Zones, we have been doing it often for some time now, and I am pleased both because I deal with the subject at an academic level, but also because I have had the experience of setting up Special Economic Zones, spending about a year in Puglia as coordinator of the Task Force group on SEZs, both Adriatic and Ionian, with various trips to Molise and Basilicata since both zones are interregional, then helping the industrial consortia of Sardinia to draw up a project to be handed over to the Sardinian Region since it was the last to set up the SEZ, then spending another year in Sicily building the two Special Economic Zones, Orientale and Occidentale. Someone might say to me, “but in all this time what have you been doing in these regions?” Well, I believe that if we do not start from here, perhaps we will not have an idea of what has happened in this area. Because it took all that time to set up these Special Economic Zones, which had the definition that has been shown and which were set up on territories by the regions that made strategic plans on a subject they did not know. Everything had to be done: hearing all the territorial stakeholders (employer parties, trade union parties, municipalities, provinces, industrial consortia). We had to deal with all the constraints of the various territories, from sites of national interest, to the issue of reclamation, to state property, to port authorities. There was the need to agree on which measures to adopt, including those of local taxation, manoeuvrable taxes, which contributions, which personnel; it was not enough, for example, for the State that the Region indicated the things to be done, but did not indicate the personnel units dedicated to the purpose. Those economic-functional links are not a little word that sounds like a decoration; in reality it is a very implicit word, it means understanding what infrastructures connect, should connect the industrial areas of southern Italy with the infrastructures, in particular the ports, but also the airports, because the old discipline also spoke of airports, unbeknownst to the airports, because it was necessary to hear the airports who had no indications and therefore approached the matter with some caution. And in fact there were no airports in the ZES. But which areas should we allocate? State-owned areas, industrial areas, which ones? The car parks? The commercial areas? And who tells us and who signs? So, the subject of delay has been complained about, but the delay was made by legislation that had a strong impact on the Regions that had to conceive these Special Economic Zones without having a prior idea, because the first characteristic of our Special Economic Zones is that they are born ope legis. And which legis or leges? Decrees-law, because both, the old SEZ and the new SEZ are born with decrees-law, that is, with necessity and urgency. And already here some questions may arise. How is it that a country decides to develop Special Economic Zones, which are significant stuff, on the wave of urgency? So they are born out of laws; not around an already defined industrial project. Tanger Med was born because Renault allocated a billion to build the Dacia in Morocco and because an industrial, logistical, infrastructural project was developed around it, taking into account the strategic location of that place, a few miles of the medium navigation line between Suez and Gibraltar and a few miles from Gibraltar, because that was a strategic place. When the Minister of Winners, to whom all appreciation goes for having finally taken this step, launched the discipline, it was not as if the regions had a clear idea of which ports should be upgraded – on the contrary, we were coming from a report by the European Court of Auditors that told us that ports in Italy had squandered an avalanche of resources, because there had been a pulverisation of investments without an overall vision. This is why the Special Economic Zones were born downstream of the Delrio reform, which had attempted to systemise the port system authority. The SEZs were born there: too many ports, too many authorities, let’s try to make a system. They were born ope legis, with law decrees, without an industrial project for each one, with the invitation ‘Regions, equip yourselves and tell us where to make these Social Economic Zones’. With a mathematical formula, because here too someone must have wondered: how come there were 10 square kilometres available in Molise, or rather 6, 10 in Basilicata, 44 in Puglia, 55 in Sicily, 27 in Sardinia, how come? Mathematical formula: the Zes will have a magnitude exactly proportional to the demographic data and the surface area of the region. They are an instrument not of economic development, not of infrastructure policy, but of economic and social cohesion. The Zes in Italy are born under this star, which is not the same star with which Port Said or Tanger Med are born: it is another star. Our ZES were born as a thaumaturgic function, to solve the problems of portions of the Mezzogiorno; they were born to try to solve the atavistic problem of the backwardness of portions of territories by trying to bring productive areas back into dialogue with the infrastructures of globalisation. How can an entrepreneur in the hinterland of Lucania, or Sicily, or Sardinia compete with the globalised world if in order to get to the port he has to take impervious provincial roads, probably also damaged by hydrogeological instability and so on? So this is what we try to do. But we must be wary of this, this is the founding matrix of our SEZs, which is, I repeat, neither economic development stricto sensu nor infrastructure policy; however, they had the merit of trying to bring all three together. In fact they had to be built around the ports, in fact there were economic-functional links between the hinterlands and the ports, you couldn’t just choose any area. The Sardinian Zes, the famous doughnut, although born under the star of economic-social cohesion, forgot about the interior. You know that the islands experience a double isolation: the first as islands, the second as inland areas, internal to the islands, which are also isolated from the ports and infrastructure of the island itself. So the star under which the SEZs are born is this, the flaws at the origin are many, for example the planning. The SEZs were supposed to last 7 years, plus 7 plus 7, maximum 21 years; it was never decided to allocate resources for more than 3 years. That is, a foreign investor comes and is told ‘you can invest here and stay here for 21 years, but I will tell you as you go along how many resources I will put into this industrial project of yours’; tell me who accepts such a proposal. Every year we reserve in the budget to allocate the resources to support these tax credits that could dry up in the short term. We misalign the duration with the resources; the specialty was there and the specialty was very onerous, you had to indicate the cadastral parcels. Do you realise what happened in these regions, going to even very large complexes to, as it were, split the atom to understand which property was covered by the SEZ and which was not? And many complained that half of their shed fell within the SEZ and the other did not. Which productions to recall and which to favour? There too, a choice had to be made: should this SEZ be empty or full? Are we going to choose areas with companies already inside, all occupied, because we want to benefit those who are already there or do we want to attract those who are not? We had to make all these evaluations in the field, meeting people who would tell you off the record, because we had to compile the records and attach them to the strategic plans, and here if an investor arrives, he will run like hell, because the expropriation procedures for these areas have never been completed, but also the declaration of public utility, there are still owners ready with a rifle at the window to wait for the investor and then ask him to pay the duty, there are building abuses, there are the problems of reclamation that have never been completed. We have to talk about this when we talk about industrial areas, about the Mezzogiorno; it is not as if we are talking about a red carpet on which the investor arrives. We had to do all this, including questioning all the stakeholders, because in that area, quite simply, there is the Regia Trazzera Siciliana. What is the Regia Trazzera Siciliana? It is 11,000 km of Sicilian roads with a natural surface that are governed by a lieutenant’s decree of 1917 and they are not a small thing, they are 37.98 m wide, 18 rods and two palms, because someone had to go and study the lieutenant’s decree of 1917 and try to talk to the regional office that holds the cattle property and try to understand if that Trazzera was going inside the Zes or not. So, this happened from 2017 until yesterday, with delay, with effort; was it successful in all the operations? Probably not, but we have come up against what it is to try to put back together pieces of industrial areas, port areas, airport areas, state-owned areas in the Mezzogiorno and try to get them going again. Today, backtracking. This is no longer the definition but another one. The regions are no longer involved, the port system authorities are no longer involved, there are no longer functional economic links with ports and airports. Everything is centralised in a vision that brings all processes back here to Rome; there is no longer the problem of cadastral parcels, everything is included, that work is archived as the Enlightenment used to say, a stroke of the legislator’s pen, entire libraries go to waste, and that has happened in this case too. The fact of the matter is that that experience should not be completely archived, because that experience teaches us that there are the eight strategic plans of the regions that were affected by this that continue to have a vision for their territories. Will they merge into the single strategic plan? To what extent? And will the territorial offices, as they are now after an announced extension to the first of March, evaporate altogether, will only the central structure remain? Given that, among other things, there are disputes at the Court, it may well be that the government will return to the subject with some graft, with some corrections; from 2017 to date, about 20 corrections will have been made, a major investment plan was made and dismantled the next day, the presidents of the port system authority were appointed, then we said no, you don’t have the resources, let’s make commissioners; we have made a lot of grafts, perhaps we should make more. I would look at what foreign countries are doing because the SEZs in the world have certain characteristics that we cannot ignore. The first: they arise in strategic places. So even ours, which is now a single container, will have to reward investments that will be localised and land somewhere. They have the character of speciality; to be special means that those on the inside benefit, those on the outside do not; this is also a problem, a legal one in many cases that needs to be addressed. This large container has lost its specialness; I don’t know how specialness can be recovered. Concentration of resources and concentration of expertise: that is how it is everywhere; not only that, a pact approach between the managing authority and the investor. Clear pacts and long friendship. Come here there is a locational package, the benefits last this round of years not one less, the conditions are very clear, you will have these benefits if you invest these sums, this is how it works. Inside this container of the Zes Unica there is this pact approach? Does the investor who wants to go to Puglia, Basilicata, Sardinia, come to Rome to negotiate his relationship with that SEZ, its duration, how much he invests? He has to make a business plan, he has to know how long the incentives will last and if he looks back he sees that every two or three months the rules change, the rules of the game change, this is not really an attractor of investment. The choice has been made, let’s take the good of the choice that has been made, then there will be the pending events, but let’s not lose the lesson of what has been done so far, both for what it has taught us about the industrial areas of southern Italy, how to reconnect them to the ports and avoid a fracture, because there is a fracture between many of them and the infrastructure, and then treasure a system of skills that is actually very useful. We have spent months, days trying to get bodies to agree on administrative processes. Let us move forward in the direction we have taken; now the path has been mapped out, let us not lose the wealth of experience we have gained along the way. Thank you.

FABIO INSENGA: Thank you Professor Berlinguer for the analysis, also for the many questions asked that leave knots to be unravelled for sure. Let us move on to Mr. Palumbo, Director of the Eurispes Observatory on Fiscal Policy, because there is also an issue of rationalisation of fiscal measures to be addressed.

GIOVANBATTISTA PALUMBO: Thank you. In the meantime, good morning to everyone. I usually always prepare my own draft of a possible report and then leave it afterwards, because I am too stimulated by the interventions of others. This time, as mine is also the last speech, I also like to make a bit of a common thread of what has been said so far, because it then goes to the topic I have to deal with, which is what are these resources and how are they found to provide the flywheel as fiscal leverage for these investments. Now we started with an initial statement, saying that this is geopolitics, and this is the focal point. Because this affirmation of policy then led to the change in the rules that has already been mentioned, namely with a change in the philosophy of the SEZs, which, however, has a rationale that has been hinted at. There has been talk of organisational centralisation, with the control room in the CoM; there has been talk of the principle of cumulative aid, which is also a novelty from a fiscal point of view; there has been talk of business centralisation and the overcoming of localism. These are all issues that aim, precisely, to provide a great opportunity, as has already been said by other speakers, and this is connected with that geopolitical choice we have mentioned. The ZES has been called ‘the armed arm’ in order to make these objectives effective. But to wage wars you need money – the theme is always the same – and the money that is given to companies is the real weapon for making the investments that must give greater competitiveness to the country’s system and which is also found through a system of tax regulations. Now, in the fight against tax evasion, Giovanni Falcone’s motto of ‘follow the money’ always applies. Here too, to understand the actual chances of success of the single ZES, we must follow the money: politics wants these resources to be invested in the South. In the South as a macro zone, therefore no longer as eight regional Zes with their own localisms, with their own needs. Why in the South? Because looking at it from that map, the South is inside the basin of the Mediterranean Sea, in a context, as has been said, of increasingly strong globalisation – therefore without making a critical mass that would make it possible to have today what is the only Zes in the South a player at a global level that can be worth 83 billion euro – a context that is, as has already been mentioned in the case of Tanger Med and the experience of Suez, a context in which the other countries that look out over this sea already have strong experiences of Zes and free zones. What is also desirable in the future is to go beyond the single SEZ. That is, I go even further to say that the various lines of the various countries of the basin – so Egypt, Tunisia, Turkey, etc. – should all unite in a single player with common rules that can act as a mass against those BRICS we spoke of earlier. Let us say, therefore, that we are back to the initial statement: this is geopolitics before national, regional, local interests, and in this context tax deductions are one of the fundamental instruments. As has been said, interventions and investments are facilitated through actions of an administrative but also fiscal nature, which can consist of various instruments – later, if there is time, I will also briefly flash on those that are adopted in the other countries bordering the Mediterranean – and which range from exemptions to reductions in corporate income tax, to accelerated or reinforced depreciation to tax credits on investments, to reductions in dividend rates, to customs regulations to VAT exemptions. In short, there can be many measures and even which one to focus on is a political choice. Now, with the creation of the single SEZ, the fundamental measure to support these investments, i.e. the tax credit, has been made available in the budget, a good 1.8 billion euro, which is an initial package that can certainly allow this zone to be launched. What does the tax credit consist of? It consists precisely, depending on the location of the company and the size of the company, in a tax credit on investments in new capital goods that are part of an investment project and thus on the purchase of new machinery, plant and equipment, purchase of land and real estate, albeit again within the limit of 50% of the total investment and is given for investments that are made from 10 January 2024 to 15 November 2024 for amounts of no less than EUR 200,000 and no more than EUR 100 million. Now, the tax credit, as was mentioned earlier – this is one of the major innovations along with another that we will see in a moment – can also be cumulated with other de minimis aid that also covers the same costs, provided only that such cumulation does not lead to exceeding the intensity that is envisaged by the 2022-2027 aid map. This has led to a first advantage compared to the previous ZES, namely an increase in the possible threshold of tax relief, where it is now foreseen that according to the size of an enterprise, whether large, medium or small. For large companies, a tax credit of 15% for Abruzzo, 30% for Molise, Basilicata and Sardinia, and 40% for Campania, Puglia, Calabria and Sicily. These percentages are then increased by 10% in the case of medium-sized enterprises, and by 20% for small enterprises where the distinction between medium-sized, large and small is that set out in Recommendation 361 of 2003, i.e. on the basis of whether an enterprise has more than 250 employees, between 50 and 250, a volume and turnover of more than 50 million, between 10 and 50, or under 10 million. Therefore, let’s say that it varies according to the entity that intervenes and these percentages, as I said before, are higher than those that were envisaged for the previous SEZs, which instead always envisaged a percentage of 25%, 35% and 45% for all the various regions, except for Abruzzo, for which 10%, 20% and 30% were envisaged. These are political choices that also pass through which sectors are excluded from these interventions; for example, the sectors of the coal and steel industry, energy distribution infrastructure, and the financial, credit and insurance sectors are excluded. Therefore, it is always a political choice what to focus on. Now, an innovation has been made here, as I was saying before, and that is that unlike the previous discipline on regional ZES, the decree on the South no longer seems to require that all assets must be new, since the term ‘new’ no longer appears in the regulatory text with reference to the general concept of capital goods, but is only on the category of ‘machinery, plant or equipment’. This can therefore mean that it can be allowed to go and redevelop even disused properties with further advantage for the territories, hence political choices because the aim is to make a player that can compete with the other subjects. What are the other players? In the meantime, our first competitors, which, however, in a prospective function, should then be our future allies, are the various countries that overlook the Mediterranean such as, for example, Morocco, which was first mentioned for the example of Tanger Med and which has a very structured free zone with the development of a capacity to attract, for example, 600 companies from all productive sectors with an export of more than 4 billion euro and this is also thanks to the tax regulations that are provided in that context, including: exemption from registration tax and stamp duty for the increase, capital contribution, exemption of patent tax and urban taxation for 15 years and exemption of corporate income tax for 5 years and afterwards with a reduced rate at 8.75% until the 20th year, and tax exemption on share products, on assimilated income; on capital repatriation and VAT exemption for goods. In short, a nice scrum package that has enabled great development. As in the Suez Canal Zone for Egypt, this is also a very structured zone with two integrated areas, two development areas and four ports, in which duty-free imports are provided for, export duties are only on imported raw materials and not on the final product. There is also the development of a new tax area, a free zone such as Nuweiba, in which a three-year 50% income tax exemption is provided for projects that have been started, or are renewable over time. Turkey too, as we have said, has more than 20 free zones where we have advantages such as full exemption from corporate tax, value added tax, consumption tax and even income tax for employees themselves, where we are talking about companies that export more than 85%. Finally, Tunisia, which has two business parks, Bizerta and Zarzis-Gerba, where there are also special tax benefits: for example, all infrastructure work is subject to a 20% tax on gross income and there is also a corporate tax reduced to 50%, but only from the eleventh year after the first export transaction. In short, all the various countries have equipped themselves so that domestic companies or those wishing to invest have a package that allows them to be competitive thanks to these concessions. Of course, as is also envisaged in our regulatory system, they must then remain for five years, they must maintain that productive structure in those buildings or equipment that have enjoyed this tax benefit; then afterwards, as I mentioned earlier, on every rule there is unfortunately a risk of fraud: even here because it may also happen that some companies go to invest and then afterwards instead, in some other way, they leave the territory, they leave the investment, they take the tax credit so much by now there is also a very strong expertise with the tax credit on the super bonus of real estate – on which we have seen that there is also fraud. So even here the state must be able to actually control these resources, they are then spent for the positive purpose that we have already said.

FABIO INSENGA: Thank you to Mr Palumbo. Thank you to all the speakers who participated in this session. Before starting the new session, I would like to greet the Honourable Alessandro Giglio Vigna, President of the European Affairs Commission of the Chamber of Deputies, who has attended our work and who is here in the room, and for the new session: “Zes Unica, design and management of new geopolitical models of infrastructures” I call Dr. Marco Rettighieri, professor of Project Management at the Luis business School, Dr. Ivo Blandina, National President of Uniontrasporti, and Eng. Dario Lo Bosco, President of Rete Ferroviaria Italiana, to the table. We will talk about new geopolitical models and infrastructure, and I would like to ask Professor Ingegner Rettighieri to introduce our work, thank you.

MARCO RETTIGHIERI: Good morning everyone, first of all I would like to thank you for the invitation, which I gladly accepted, so much so that there is also one of my teachers who is Prof. Dario Lo Bosco, so I feel particularly encouraged to try to do well. May I begin my speech by saying, ‘Wake up!’ We have heard many jurists and economists speak; I am an engineer so I see the aspect we are going to deal with from a different point of view. Why do I say ‘Wake up’? Because Italy is still not realising that the world around us has completely changed. We are still bound not to consider the risk factors that are present in the Mediterranean. The Mediterranean is not just what our forefathers, the ancient Romans, called medi terraneus, or ‘sea in the middle of the land’, because the Romans were the only people to entirely surround the Mediterranean, to make it almost a lake of their own, which unfortunately is no longer ours. We must consider the Mediterranean as far as Bab el-Mandeb, which is that tiny strait that connects the Red Sea with the Indian Ocean. As chance would have it, this is where the greatest conflicts are taking place today, linked to geopolitics, conflicts that are undermining trade and which see Italy suffer particularly from the diversion of goods to other routes. This is a map showing how the Romans ended each of their roads that we travel every day (Appia, Laurentina, Aurelia, etc.) with sea routes. We are not new to this concept. A ship arriving at a port, such as Palermo or Gioia Tauro, if it has no infrastructure behind it, makes no sense. Only 30% of containers – and there are 108 million TEUs around the world – transit the Mediterranean. By 7 October 2023 we have lost 30% of the maritime traffic transiting the Mediterranean. That means billions. Among other things, what I call the ‘US umbrella’ has disappeared: the US has abandoned the Mediterranean as its strategic area. There is Taiwan, which is much more problematic as an area than the Mediterranean. So the United States loses the Mediterranean and, as with communicating vessels, if there is one that goes down there is another that goes up. Who goes up in the Mediterranean? China of course – look at the port of Piraeus which has been acquired by the Chinese with all that that entails – but there is another major player in the Mediterranean which is Turkey, which is slowly conquering the Libyan market, coincidentally our great energy supplier since time immemorial, and is conquering all of North Africa. Some people call Italy an ‘aircraft carrier in the middle of the Mediterranean’ a great logistical hub, a portfolio with no money in it. Why? Because we do not have the necessary and sufficient infrastructure to dispose of what can eventually be unloaded here. A container that stays in the port where it arrived for more than 15 days makes no sense. The port must be able, through adequate infrastructure, to dispose of this container in the shortest possible time. As Webuild Italia, of which I am President, we are building the third pass in Genoa precisely to get containers to Genoa, Italy’s main port with two and a half million containers disposed of in a year, in the shortest possible time because the anachronism and madness of our trade means that goods that have to arrive in Milan first get to Rotterdam and then go down. I have heard some great speeches, the problem of the ZES is true, but without infrastructure we cannot give Italy what the world is asking for. And the world is not waiting for us. I think the Renaissance was beautiful, but the Communes, the Seignories brought a serious loss of this national unity that we need. Within this framework, we have strong disruptions, not only Italian ones due to infrastructure, but we also have strong disruptions due to the Libyan crisis, which destabilises an area; we have Tunisia, which is extremely critical. In addition, the climatic variations we are witnessing are jeopardising, obviously due to an increase in the climatic crisis, displacement and migration, and the jihadist political crisis that is characterising the entire southern strip of the Mediterranean entails a migratory flow that we do not know how to manage at all. In the Bab el-Mandeb area, ships that transit and connect East and West are attacked; it is the narrowest point, it is where the Italian government has sent two frigates precisely to try to defend our trade relations in that area. Forty per cent of the goods arriving in Italy transit that point; if it is blocked, the only possible route is to make the circumnavigation of Africa. What does that mean? 15 extra days of shipping, freight, personnel, risk of shipping. Between Cyprus and Egypt, Lebanon and Israel, ENI has discovered one of the largest hydrocarbon deposits in the world. NATO countries are converging there to increase the instability of this whole area. Turkey and Greece, acting through Cyprus, want to exploit those deposits; they are both part of the same alliance and we know very well that they also gave rise to military skirmishes until recently. So the SEZ is very important, but if the infrastructure conditions are not created we will go nowhere. These are the routes before 7 October 2023: Malta, southern Italy (this huge Zes), but there are also the ports of Trieste and Genoa. It’s a ‘fidel’ network as they call it, so it’s a loyal network for container transport, because all our goods travel via containers. There is another factor to consider. Usually ships take between 15 and 18 days to cross the Panama Canal, because there are lock systems, the level of the Panama Canal has to be constantly varied. The Suez Canal does not. After doubling it, the Suez Canal will allow the transit of 20/22 thousand TEU ships. What does this mean? That the standard for all container ships has become 20/22 thousand TEU. The port of Genoa – which is the largest together with that of Trieste and Gioia Tauro in terms of depth – we are expanding it, but for whom, if we do not create the conditions? Which are not only the fiscal, legislative ones, but above all those that allow goods to travel. We cannot allow anyone to have a container that stays in a port for 15 days (apart from the spoilage of goods that there may be). We have to be attractive also and above all on that. We have to add value. Perhaps it is no longer enough to say Zes in Southern Italy with all the regions we have seen before, it is no longer enough, we must create a system-Italy to meet all these needs. The single port, or the single region, is no longer enough, we must look beyond. Some states of the Arabian Peninsula would also like to invest in Italy. The so-called MENA states, which are those bordering the Persian Gulf if you are in Iran, or the Arabian Sea if you are in the Arabian Peninsula, would like to invest, but they want to have guarantees, and here laws often change overnight. The Mattei plan is also part of all this, which tends not just to exploit African states, but to facilitate them. Do you see now the circumnavigation route of Africa how busy it is? All those dots are ships. By now they have all changed the route again from Bab el-Mandeb (Suez Canal, to understand) to the circumnavigation of Africa, because it is safer, even if they spend more. Hence the reason for the increase in goods arriving in Italy, because once they make the circumnavigation of Africa, it is no longer convenient to go to the Mediterranean, but it is more convenient to arrive at the ports of Northern Europe that have the advantage of having navigable canals, which we do not have. It is all well and good to talk about SEZs, about the southern issue, about legislation that must be relevant to what the reality is, but we can create whatever we want, but if there is no infrastructure network that allows us to go ahead and be able to sell these containers where they are needed, in the centre of Europe, we will go nowhere. This is a projection devised by an Italian in the 1600s; as you can see, there is no South Pole yet, because it had not been discovered. This projection was adopted until the 20th century. We need ideas that allow us to move goods. Italy would be the ideal place.

FABIO INSENGA: Thank you Professor Rettighieri. So now we can see the video contribution of Mr. Badreddine Toukabri, Chairman of the Euro-Mediterranean Chamber for Industry and Enterprise of Tunis.

BADREDDINE TOUKABRI: First of all I would like to thank Professor Laura Mazza, who is our head of institutional relations with Italy for this opportunity; I would also like to thank the President of Eurispes Gian Maria Fara for this opportunity and for the invitation to the forum “Zes Unica del Mediterraneo”; I would have been very pleased to be present, but there will be opportunities. So, entering the topic, I would like to present the ZES case of Tunisia. Tunisia has almost 1300 km of coastline on which there are 15 major ports between marinas, commercial ports and for passenger travel. In our case, there are two main ZES in Tunisia, one in Bizerte, in the northeast of the country, and one in Zarzis, in the south near the island of Gerba, an island famous for its tourist side. As the Chamber (of the Mediterranean for Industry and Enterprise of Tunis), I wanted to open a parenthesis; we are already partners of the ZES of Zarzis for foreign development, especially on Italy where we have made a whole series of meetings, of talks between Rome, Sardinia, Apulia under the presidency of Dr. Chaouki Friaa who is the President of the ZES of Zarzis, whom we thank. To talk about the ZES of Zarzis, this was created in ’96, the start-up of activities began in that year, and it is an area spread over 60 hectares close to the airport of Gerba, the port of Zarzis, which is a large freight port. Let’s get into the very idea of the ZES, which offers certain advantages for the inclusion of companies in the zone, of which I can list the sole interlocutor, in the sense that the administration of the Zarzis ZES takes care totally of the paperwork, documentary, administrative procedure, to establish itself in the zone. Assistance is total all-round even in logistics and the search for partners, markets, etc. Zarzis regularly serves France and Italy and has opportunities to transport goods, e.g. all ports going to three zones (European, African and Middle East). I would like to focus especially on the fiscal advantages of the Zarzis Zones, such as: tax reduced to 15 per cent on profits, which generally goes from 35 to 45 for the normal regime; the suspension of VAT for all local purchases for the needs of the production or service offered by the company set up in the Zones; total exemption from customs taxes for the import of materials, goods and equipment necessary for the activity. These are really the core, because there are other small advantages, such as for the assignment of the necessary labour and personnel, where the Inps is paid 50 per cent by the government through the agreements with the ZES, plus many other advantages. I took the liberty of presenting this small parenthesis of the ZES of Zarzis on the fly, the same advantages apply to the ZES of Bizerte. On behalf of the Mediterranean Chamber for Industry and Entrepreneurship, with the collaboration of Professor Laura Mazza whom I thank again, I will be happy to remain available for future collaboration both on this forum and in general. I thank everyone again.

FABIO INSENGA: So Ing. Lo Bosco, now I give the floor to you, Chairman of Rete Ferroviaria Italiana: “The integration of mobility and logistics networks for Euro-Mediterranean sustainable development”.

DARIO LO BOSCO: I would like to thank my friend Fimmanò, Dr. Tanilli and the Magnificent Rector, as well as the President of the Lions for inviting me to this day of study and in-depth analysis, to which we must give an ethical value, a social value, of valorising the best intelligences we have in Italy, and it is no coincidence that the keynote address was given by one of the masters of engineering who today governs difficult investment processes such as Marco Rettighieri, who has given us the privilege of having him as the national director of investments in the Italian railway network and as a leader in the realisation of large infrastructures connecting Italian networks with European transnational ones. His experience is certainly essential in order to be able to realise mobility and transport networks in an interconnected digital Green country system management unicum, favouring integrations with the neuralgic systems, which are the port and airport systems. Italian State Railways, which is led by Luigi Ferraris, whose passionate greetings I bring to you, also enhancing Mercatorum, which is the University of the Italian Chambers of Commerce and which has a scientific director such as Fimmanò who ranges not only in the field of digital engineering of information technology but also, above all, of Law, which sees him as a well-established master in the Italian legal system but also in the economic and social one. The connection of Anas, RFI, Italfer, and Ferrovie del Sudest is intended to contribute to the sustainable development, recovery, and resilience of the country not so much because we manage the 24 billion euro as RFI alone for the PNRR, because today we have put 50 billion euro on the ground, in the next 10 years we will invest over 130 million euro. In short, an extraordinary contribution to post-pandemic regrowth, but above all to ensure that Italy can be a leader in the integration processes of the great European transnational networks, which with the opening to the East are also the pan-European networks. This is because from an econometric point of view, the value of a network is given by the degree of interconnection of the branches of the network squared, so the more integrated system logistics provides answers to what the European Union’s 2001 White Paper had already drawn up in no uncertain terms, which obliged the less polluting systems such as the railways the sea route to integrate and implement the major corridors already designed for the transport of goods – an objective, this, to be realised also with the Pole Academy and Technical Methodology that we have deliberated in recent weeks and which we will bring to fruition with a committee of wise men and which I will have the honour to chair together with His Excellency Staglianò who is the President of the Pontifical Academy for Theological Sciences. What does theology have to do with the digitisation of processes? It has something to do with it because it puts public ethics at the centre of everything. We are writing a book that concerns precisely public ethics and process engineering as an inseparable unicum and the good work that each manager can and must do in the service of the nation and to also strengthen international cooperation relations starting from the scientific, technical-technological, digital and Smart systems culture in which Ferrovie dello Stato is a leader in Europe and the world. We are creating deep synergies with all the primary research centres in Italy, and beyond, and with the universities, which will lead us to achieve these growth objectives supported by science and knowledge, also with a system of enhancing training that historically sees us, as Ferrovia dello Stato, as a driver of culture in Italy and the world. The geometry of rules. geometry is based on five fundamental axioms that are then supported by theorems and corollaries that do not conflict with these axioms. Or well the Constitutional Charter and the axiomatic guide to good behaviour, best practices, codes of ethics, systems of protection and valorisation of team work that are realised in any sphere, not only of large groups but also of public administration, are supported by the dictate of the Constitutional Charter that has a self-supporting system, i.e. it does not need further elements to support the guidelines that are still absolutely current and that valorise the work of each of us. Article 2, Article 4, clearly state that the individual is the element on which economic and social progress is based and also for the social doctrine of the Church of a nation. Now with other religions the rules are always fundamental and therefore we do not need to write anything down, obviously in the book we have spiced it up with mathematical models that serve to help the decision-maker and the engineering of processes, the contamination of knowledge enhance the work that is done by each of us in the service of the country. Just one example, as an act of direction and coordination that we issued together with Giampiero Strisciuglio, who is the CEO of RFI, the lead company of the Pole, and in agreement with FS in Italy, we decided to make it compulsory from last August to reuse excavated earth for the construction of road and rail embankments. It means that we have said enough to the policies that until yesterday existed in our country to be able to load this earth onto lorries and produce noise and atmospheric pollution and then find a dump, which was not always in the same region but in neighbouring or distant regions, and then take the material we needed from the borrow pits, gutting even the mountains with immediately understandable environmental problems. But that’s not all: we counteracted the illegality and infiltration of the mafia in these neuralgic sectors of the country, because that is where mafia interests lurk in the transport of materials, in the borrow pits and in the landfills. This is how the fight against the mafia is done, but it is also done by giving employment opportunities to our young people. This is why the Academy Technical Methodology with Mercatorum will certainly be, with other leading universities in Italy, a founding element to tell Europe what the guidelines are for engineering processes, but above all we must put public ethics and training at the centre of any activity that concerns public investment in the territory, control and optimisation of systems with digital techniques. We have also imposed that RFI and Anas contracts be made with digital control of times and costs, never again variants during construction that are not justified as optimising development processes, and above all to maintain the project and planned chronoprogramme so that what the public decision-maker has decided at the first level of economic policy is then implemented as Ferrovie dello Stato policy dictates. In short, as Dante said, “diverse voices make sweet notes”, we are happy and willing to embark on this new path that sees ethics as a founding element of any public activity and of large groups such as the Italian State Railways.

FABIO INSENGA: Thank you, Ing. Lo Bosco. Ivo Blandina, National President of Uniontrasporti: ‘Zes, a look at the future of logistics in Italy’.

IVO BLANDINA: Thank you, thank you. Whoever organised this meeting gave me the pleasure, the honour of attending and above all of listening to speeches by jurists, economists, tax experts, Engineer Lo Bosco is always a pleasure to listen to, not only for his oratorical ability, but above all because he is the bearer of fundamental elements to foresee the future and changes, and I refer to his quotation, I refer to Dante to say “Lo tempo va dintorno con le force”, an element that even now the professor has recalled as a danger. Losing time basically means losing opportunities, we are losing many opportunities, and that of the transformation of this new prospect of a Single European Economic Zone has probably slowed down, if not blocked, processes. As an entrepreneur from the South, I have reservations about some things, which Professor Berlinguer has accurately and scientifically outlined. There is a strong disappointment, there were very strong expectations, but there were a couple of billion of investments ready to go, by the way I also shared that phase as Vice-President of Confindustria Sicilia; We had many meetings to draw up strategic plans, bringing elements of knowledge of the entrepreneurial fabric, but also looking at which were the mature markets that needed to be abandoned in some way – I’m referring to refining, energy production, with fuel oil – and instead which were the markets that needed to be looked at by encouraging investment in digital, in innovation, in technology, in green. It is hard to understand why an experience that could have been a module for the extension of the SEZ to the entire Mezzogiorno was abandoned. Some characteristic elements have disappeared, I am thinking of the customs free zones. When Ben Ali’s regime collapsed following the Arab Spring, a couple of weeks later we received the President of the Agency for the Attraction of Investments in Tunisia, who in two minutes said: within 24 hours we give you authorisations for industrial plants, in an afternoon for large commercial ones, if you want to open a shop in an hour we give you everything you need. We are a long way from that, if I think that right now there is a sort of limbo: those who fight in disused industrial areas or those to be redeveloped with sites of national interest and therefore characterisations, reclamations, unbudgeted and unbudgetable costs, with the overlapping of protection instruments such as SPAs, landscape plans, etc. etc., with the stratification of planning and programming instruments. Here, all this stuff is not compensated by a tax benefit, it is not compensated by an administrative simplification. What is actually needed here is someone who, in the territories, in the areas, has derogations and special powers, and we have seen that this is unfortunately needed, in a country that needs to derogate from ordinary rules to build the Genoa dam, even to rebuild the Morandi bridge. The prospect of the ZES, the prospect of entrepreneurs who had ready projects for settlements or for the implementation and reconversion of existing industrial plants, is now blocked. I will give one example out of all; a large group that has a turnover of just 45 billion dollars with a few hundred million in profits and has a steel plant in the industrial area of Milazzo in the ZES area, until a few hours ago was talking to Di Graziano about an investment worth some thirty million euros, while today everything is at a standstill. And if we then think about what is happening for this the time factor is decisive, we must have ready reactions, we cannot wait for our North West and North East ports to continue to suffer the limitation due to the lack of access to the rest of Europe. There is an issue that concerns the crossings and we have ports plugged because we have no connection, because Austria continues to make an absurd obstructionism on which politically no one intervenes, there is a timid reaction from Rome and very little happens from Brussels. And geopolitical scenarios also have a huge influence on our microcosm, so we have to deal with what has happened in Ukraine, which has effectively blocked exports not only of wheat, but also of semi-products of raw materials to Europe, we have to deal with what is happening in the Gulf of Aden in Yemen due to acts of piracy, we have to deal with the crisis in the Middle East and this has an immediate impact. All this is probably coupled with some speculative phenomena, because we have seen that freight rates have risen during the period of rising energy costs, but in a non-proportional manner, and today an oversupply of hold must probably be compensated again by a rise in freight rates. And how? Instead of going through Suez, if I have this inconvenience I go under, I keep more cargo on board instead of keeping the ship empty in port, I trivialise but it is not so far from reality, also on the idea that we can be partners of port systems of international trade networks in the Mediterranean. We are paying the price of being in the European ETS (Emission Trading System); our ports will pay the price, in terms of tens of millions, of higher costs than our competitors in Tangier and Port Said respectively. We will be further penalised by measures that we believe to be fair because the Union and all of us are committed to reducing emissions; the system of offsetting emissions takes place through this ETS, which in any case penalises us. We have tax regimes that compared to other countries in the Mediterranean are a lost game. So the valorisation of what? If we had thought, and perhaps we had thought well, that the SEZs served above all to stimulate horizontal relations, not only were they back-port and therefore the possibility of launching small artisan, commercial and even manufacturing productions, on the markets of the world, but they served to make a census operation of localisation of starting horizontal relations on trade by reducing transport costs, connecting those who produce a semi-finished product and those who make a finished product on the same industrial chain. The Special Economic Zones had also identified the need to perimeter customs free zones; today we are again seeing protectionist measures, higher duties, anti-dumping, measures that lie in quotas and ceilings. All this presupposes a return to thinking concretely about customs free zones where the so-called customary handling can be done free of duty or processing operations, given that we are a country that does nothing but import raw materials, export finished products, perhaps this is precisely the trade of our manufacturing system. I am sorry to say it, but that is how it is, we are making a complete change of scenery; the paradigm of the Single European Economic Zone is very fascinating, very evocative, but we should have done it at other times and with other instruments, and obviously keeping everything that was already underway. Let us see if there is a way and time to catch up. On this specific subject, I had prepared a document precisely to show what the infrastructure endowments are and what is the performance index of the infrastructure endowment of the South, of the Regions in the South where the SEZs existed, but now of the whole South. It’s a bit boring, I must say, but I’ll leave it for the record, because there are indications that are precise, punctual not only on the South, but for each individual Region and then for each ZES there is even a provincial report that gives a dimension of the infrastructure endowment (and I’m talking about ports, airports, roads, railways, logistics). This goes back to saying that there is no economic development, there is no strategy for attracting investment if we are unable to resolve endemic, atavistic problems that we entrepreneurs are well aware of: in order to procure raw materials or to place our products in markets that are not exactly close by, we pay a difference that, in terms of percentage of GDP, is much higher than the national average, which is already higher than that of European countries, which is already higher than that of countries where logistics efficiency (I am thinking of Japan) reaches levels of excellence. So it is not for me to make a conclusion, but I do make a final reflection. How attractive the instruments, the facilities are, can probably be seen from the outset, especially if we are used to seeing a few things on the calls for tenders rather than at the counter, with the click day, clogging up all the Internet lines. What it is worth, however, in terms of perspective and growth, this can be seen in the medium to long term, let us not get too excited about solutions that seem to launch us into the third dimension, the work to be done is always step-by-step, growth that is organic, widespread, because no one should be left behind – this slogan is a bit overused – it is an overall strategy that concerns the country-system, hence the manufacturing system, agriculture, trade, but also the mobility of people, hence tourism, and to do this the differentiation between those who are behind and those who are ahead is perhaps no longer even worth making. An overall strategy for all and aligns everyone towards economic growth, social progress and the advancement of our community. Thank you.

FABIO INSENGA: Thank you to Dr Blandina and thank you to all the speakers who have animated this session, so many insights have emerged. Now I call here for the conclusions of the conference the lawyer Angelo Caliendo, member of the Eurispes Board of Directors and the engineer Salvatore Napolitano, coordinator of the Permanent Forum of the Mediterranean Sea-Black Sea.

ANGELO CALIENDO: Good morning, thank you very much to all the speakers. My first thanks obviously go to the hosts, to the Rector Cannata who, at the invitation of President Fara, was delighted to accept this challenge for the first conference to be held on the topic of single SEZs. I thank my friend Salvatore Napolitano, who for quite some time now has been accompanying us with the entire Lions network in the research and study work that the Institute carries out. I thank the speakers. I will be very brief because, if I had to conclude by summarising the speeches of those who preceded me, it would be impossible, because each speech was unique, not repetitive, serious and, above all, full of many ideas, on a topic, this of the single SEZ, which immediately generated, as often happens in Italy, a footballing debate that sees the Presidents of the Regions on one side and the central government on the other, which has made a choice of aligning with the PNRR trying to make the most of the advantages deriving from this opportunity that the European Union gives us. As Professor D’Alessandro said, this new ZES is a departure from what is historically the concept of ZES: port areas with development of the retroport area. But we have to say that already in the old ZES we are in a different discourse because, imagine the Campania Region, between the Nola area and the Pomigliano d’Arco area there is a hole, a hole due to what? To the fact that we had to give away square kilometres to upper Irpinia which, you can imagine, is certainly not easily connected to the airport areas because there was a need to please a well-known politician who held the regional majority at the time. This discussion shows how the old ZES evolved in our regional system, with an Italic way of doing things, which then, as Fimmanò said, takes on much more pronounced characteristics in our South. The problem is the concern regarding this new ZES about the approach that the southern ruling class is giving to this new system, because if you only have to complain and wage war because you lose power, you lose sight of what is the main objective – and the main objective is the last train that the Mezzogiorno has to catch up with the recovery and catch up with northern Italy. The last train comes to us from this instrument. The new ZES is based on two pillars: the first is that of tax and fiscal advantages, which are important in helping entrepreneurs; but another fundamental aspect is that of the bureaucratisation of the country. The new ZES also envisages a single authorisation, and I hope that Rome will be able to manage the quantity of requests that will arrive from the territories. A need, that of unbureaucratisation, which is endemic in the South, but which belongs to the whole of our country. President Fara a few decades ago, I believe in an Italy Report, used a beautiful metaphor to describe our country as Gulliver, the giant who was held down despite his strength by a series of laces and snares that the Lilliputians had put on him; these laces and snares are the bureaucracy that prevents entrepreneurs from having certainties. I submit my file today, in six months I still don’t know if my industrial project, which in the meantime may have become old, is active and I can start investing; in the meantime I have already had the OK from the banks and I don’t know if it will still be there in six months, so this sort of limbo in which entrepreneurs are forced to operate is unacceptable for Italian entrepreneurs, even more so for foreign entrepreneurs who would like to invest in our country; Legislative and bureaucratic chaos and tax pressure discourage what is then another of the cornerstones of the SEZ, attracting investment from abroad, something that is not envisaged in either the old or the new SEZ. Today we had the contribution of our Tunisian friend who explained what the advantages of the Tunisian ZES are. They are advantages above all from a fiscal point of view, as Ivo Blandina said, which we could never guarantee, but also from a cost point of view. Just think that 1 kW in the Porta Said area costs 0.008 euro cents, impossible and unimaginable, even with all the help in the world, to achieve this in Italy. So it is necessary, as a first step, to go and structure a series of relations and strategic agreements between the emerging Zes (Zes del Mezzogiorno) and the other Zes present in the Mediterranean, trying to intersect and make the activities present in the area complement each other. In 1961, La Capria’s book ‘Ferito a morte’ was published. In this novel, La Capria spoke of his missed youth, of the fact that he had not been able to fully enjoy youth, he reflected on the immobility of the Neapolitan and southern class in general, on not knowing how to take advantage of opportunities (these were the 1960s, the years of the economic boom). In this case he says ‘the great opportunity missed’. I hope that this Zes is not the last chance the Mezzogiorno has to catch up with the rest of the country. Coming to the practical aspects, what our speakers were saying earlier, the proceedings of this conference will not be a spot case or published sporadically in magazines or social media, but will first and foremost be addressed to our interlocutors, because the goal we set ourselves with Salvatore Napolitano, also in line with what Francesco said, is to create a laboratory in the style of what Marco Ricceri did with the BRICS, which can monitor and suggest to decision-makers what improvements can be made because the SEZ is a tool, as Berlinguer said, we have this tool and we must work with it. Tools must be calibrated on the field, on specific work; we will do our part and we hope to be heard by the decision-makers. Thank you.

FABIO INSENGA: Thank you, I give the floor to Engineer Napolitano for his closing remarks.

SALVATORE NAPOLITANO: It is not easy to close such an interesting meeting with outstanding speakers. I will go beyond greetings and thank everyone, and I would like to make a premise. Today’s meeting is not by chance, but the continuation of a cultural partnership from 2017. Here are the protagonists, the actors of a series of conferences that we have had in the conference room of Interporto di Nola since 2017, as I said, both on the trans-European TEN-T corridors and on the launch of regional ZES. Back then they were regional Zes. Back then we had already hypothesised a harmonious system of corridors and ZES. Please note: at the conference back then we did not say regional SEZs, but we spoke of SEZs in the Euro-Mediterranean area, i.e. the vision we had as Lions in coordination with Eurispes and also the other players, Mercatorum and Interporto di Nola, was already projected beyond the SEZ phenomenon seen on a regional scale. I therefore want to mention the motivations at the time. It was the relationship between economics and ethics that awakened in so many national and international protagonists and observers an interest in learning about the new forms of competitiveness that had emerged both in the main reference area, the Mediterranean, and in the main world economic areas, in order to better regulate the Special Economic Zone as a propulsive tool for growth and progress in support of regional economies. I will not dwell on the economic legal aspects that have already been excellently treated by the previous speakers, but I will dwell instead on the importance of infrastructure and the geopolitical implications of the establishment of the Single Economic Zone, which have been indicated and outlined here by Marco Rettighieri’s speech. I want to represent some data: the SEZ has a surface area of 121,000 km qu net of territorial waters – because as far as I am concerned, territorial waters are under Italian jurisdiction we neglect this, i.e. there is a lack of attention to the sea territory in Italian policy. Eighty per cent of Italy’s borders are sea borders, so we are a country of the sea, no other country, I do not say in the world, but certainly in the Mediterranean has this privilege. As we can see, the establishment of the single SEZ is part of a much broader framework of interventions involving the Mediterranean basin and the African continent, such as the bridge over the Strait of Messina, the infrastructuring of the Strait regions, and the creation of an infrastructure development plan for the country with networks, motorways of the sea, ports, and digital mobility. These days the Mattei Plan for Africa has been presented and there is also a special section in the ZES concerning the islands in particular, Sardinia and Sicily. Here are some numbers, but very approximate ones, around 200 billion euro invested net of private investment in the next few years, so Italy is heading towards a path that will lead it to have a geopolitical role unquestionably different from the current one, not only in the Mediterranean basin but also in the context of the European continent. Our vital interests are concentrated in the Mediterranean. Italy is obliged to change the paradigm in Mediterranean policy by regaining weight and centrality in the region, long forgotten. To achieve these goals, it is necessary to build a society that rediscovers Maritime Geopolitics, recovering in young people what I call the Mediterranean sentiment. The change of Italy’s geopolitical interests in the enlarged Mediterranean will define new balances and it is therefore essential to understand what the effects will be on the current actors that preside over the Mediterranean today. The Mediterranean has 12 straits, i.e. 12 choke points. This means that anyone can close it as they have done, it is not a military power in Yemen, it is terrorists who have created a geopolitical problem for the entire trade and transit of goods out of and into Europe. Therefore, securing trade routes and defending our interests in the Mediterranean region and today also in the African continent with the Mattei plan is essential and it is urgent today to strengthen the presence of the Italian Navy in the area. If we want to carry a different weight than in the past in the Mediterranean, we need to guard the trade routes, ports, airports, and thus secure our economy. The first country that resolved the energy crisis following the Russia-Ukraine conflict was Italy, because we immediately had the possibility of having energy funds available from our neighbours, because the African continent is a continent. I agree with the opinion to go further, to abolish the question of the Mezzogiorno, today the Mediterranean question is fundamental for society and for the future life of our country and we must intervene culturally on young people; that is where the future of Italian culture lies. The growth of our country lies in becoming central again in the Mediterranean, it lies in young people and we must bring young people to understand the power of the sea, the abandoned thalassocracy. I would like to end with a datum in the report of the abstract by President Blandina, who said that 80 of Italian entrepreneurs do not know the facilities and opportunities that the SEZs offer; this is already a failure, so it is important and fundamental to bring, through the unions, through the institutions, through these meetings, knowledge, because knowledge is strength, is culture is economy. I would also like to add a fact that is there for all to see today: the tractor revolt. Well, we should give attention within the ZES and the single ZES to the agri-food chain, it is another opportunity we could seize. Why not? We are one country, if we want to be successful we have to unite, make a team, and not divide, we then divide on other things but certainly not on the fundamental aspects of the new generation of the country as a whole. Attention then needs to be paid to the ethical side and to favouring the establishment of research poles, and this is an appeal that I make to universities, which could certainly also be key players within the single SEZ by setting up research poles in collaboration with local authorities and associations that are available. I close with an appeal that I consider fundamental, which concerns the recovery of Geopolitics in Italian society and the power of the sea: this is fundamental for our future. Thank you for your attention and I will see you again.

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