Webinar proceedings. “A recovery without mortgages”.
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Last June, the Campania office of Eurispes organised a webinar entitled “A recovery without mortgages” to examine the potential risks of mafia infiltration in the inland and metropolitan areas of the Campania Region. The webinar was divided into two sessions: the morning session, focusing on political, social and economic issues through academics, local authorities and professionals; the afternoon session, intended to present the reflections of Italian Public Prosecutors and Magistrates. Both sessions will focus on the issue of legality in connection with the unmissable opportunity for development, investment and modernisation that is on the horizon for our Country. How can we prevent the funds that are about to flow into Italy from falling into organised crime’s hands? This latter knows how to change by adapting to circumstances, adjusting to emergencies, exploiting difficulties to infiltrate the virtuous circuit of the economy. Some answers and food for thought were offered by the speakers who shared their experiences.
To follow the speakers’ speeches and to view the programme of proceedings, visit the link https://eurispes.eu/news/una-ripresa-senza-ipoteche-convegno/
STEFANIA PAVONE, President of the Benevento Bar Association: Good morning. It is with great pleasure that I extend the greetings of the Benevento Bar Association to all participants. I would like to thank my colleague Paola Porcelli, Director of the Campania Region’s Eurispes regional office, for choosing us as the patron of today’s event with the participation of prestigious and authoritative speakers. I will take very little time to share some thoughts that I think deserve attention. The European Union will allocate billions of euros to the Member States through the Recovery Fund. However, if this happens, it will mean that this aid will, unfortunately, be dispersed and not spent in the interests of those who are actually in need. However, the legitimate fear that the mafias might intercept significant slices of funds allocated to recovery should not paralyse the vast majority of worthy initiatives.
Moreover, in my opinion, it should not delay the simplified procedures introduced by Decree-Law 77 of 31 May, together with increased transparency and digitalisation, which could be eliminated or at least limited. Thus, it would be possible to eliminate or, at any rate, limit corruptive phenomena – which, as we know, find their natural ground in the most complex administrative systems – while taking care not to pass on the message that simplifying means lowering safeguards and providing respect for legality. I believe that the opportunity offered to the Country with the Recovery Fund cannot bypass a series of preliminary reflections highlighting the social role that the legal profession is called to play, such as the promotion of legality, training and information, protecting the initiatives implemented and spreading a proactive and authoritative message that aims to be collected and appreciated by the Institutions and, more generally, also by the community to deserve a renewed trust after so much ethical darkness. It is essential for each of us to play our part for an effective recovery. A collective civic commitment is indispensable, joint in the sectors of judicial policy and the professions, which must have as its objective the safeguarding of protections, respect for citizens who ask for the application of the law, the certainty of law, the adherence to ethical values for which it is fundamental that whoever performs the function of representation and Government is considered under their irreproachable, positive, firm, consistent behaviour, as an example and authoritative point of reference by the community. In short, we must prevent criminals from taking advantage of an idea of the State which is incapable of protecting the citizens, because where the State is absent, it is known that the mafias are present and, sometimes, even show themselves as benefactors of the people.
I am convinced, and with this, I will conclude, that thanks to the valuable contribution of the illustrious speakers and also thanks to the experience they have gained over the years of their professional experience, today’s meeting will provide possible practical solutions to tackle criminal activities and to ensure that resources are genuinely deployed for a historic recovery. I would like to hand the floor back and wish you all a successful session. Thank you.
PAOLA PORCELLI, Director of the Eurispes office in Campania: Good morning, everyone, and welcome to this webinar that we have decided to call A recovery without mortgages, organised by the Campania office of Eurispes. There are a lot of you here, and I hope that your interest in participating in the seminar will be rewarded by the work and content that are the aims of our efforts, as anticipated by Lawyer Stefania Pavone, President of the COA of Benevento, whom I thank for the collaboration. Eurispes, founded and chaired by Prof. Gian Maria Fara, to whom I extend my greetings and gratitude, is a private organisation working in the field of political, economic and social research since 1982. Since 1986 the Institute has been registered in the National Register of Research Institutions of the Ministry of Education, Universities and Research and has carried out hundreds of research projects in forty years of activity. The Institute tells the story of Italy through their annual report Rapporto Italia, now in its 33rd edition, which is considered one of the most relevant and vital institutes at the international level. Carrying on the work of the territorial projection of its institutional activity, the Institute has recently opened its Campania office, which will be responsible for observing and investigating the evolution of the various political, economic and social issues, intending to identify and interpret their strengths and weaknesses and proposing possible ideas and solutions. With this in mind, the Institute has organised today’s meeting on the theme of legality and the Recovery Fund with a specific focus on the potential risks of infiltration in our Region’s inland and metropolitan areas. The webinar is divided into two sessions: the first – which will begin shortly – is dedicated to political, social and economic dialogue through representatives from the world of publishing, professions, academia and territorial public administrations. The second session – which will take place this afternoon – will host the Prosecutors of the Italian Republic, the investigating and prosecuting magistrates who, due to their functions, while respecting confidential information and only according to their experience, can offer indications and insights, helping to make the community aware of what is the risk of infiltration of organised crime in this historical moment. For the Country, the Next Generation EU represents an unmissable opportunity for development, investment and modernisation, both in legislative and institutional terms. It is a programme of unprecedented scope and ambition and foresees investments for reforms that will accelerate the ecological and digital transition to such an extent as to improve workers’ training, resulting in greater territorial and generational gender equity. In this context, the most outstanding care must be taken to ensure that the resources earmarked for improving and modernising the public administration, strengthening the production system, and combating poverty, social exclusion and inequality do not in any way become the target and interest of organised crime. Organised crime knows how to adapt to emergencies, to the contingent economic difficulties affecting individuals, professionals and small and medium-sized enterprises, infiltrating the virtuous economic circuit. Today I have the honour and privilege of introducing the speakers: Prof. Gerardo Canfora, Chancellor of the University of Sannio, and therefore the academic world, the Hon Nicola Caputo, Councillor for Agriculture of the Campania Region, Prof. Felice Casucci, Councillor for Tourism of the Campania Region (therefore the territorial Government and the key sectors of our economy), Mr Nicola Graziano, Magistrate at the Court of Benevento (therefore jurisdiction), Carlo Marino, Lawyer, President of Anci Campania and Mayor of the city of Caserta (therefore territorial and local administration), Mr Carlo Palmieri, Vice-President of Industrial Policy Competitiveness Industrial Union of Naples (than the industry sector), General Pasquale Preziosa, President of the Eurispes Observatory on Security (then research and security), Mr Ambrogio Romano, Notary, President of the Regional Notary Committee for the professions, Mr Giosy Romano, Lawyer, President of the ASI of Naples, Mr Gennaro Vitale, Engineer, President of ANCE Campania. I will then hand it over to Prof. Canfora for the first speech of the day.
GERARDO CANFORA, Chancellor of the University of Sannio: I would like to thank Mr Porcelli for inviting me to this meeting. It is an important occasion to reflect on a much-discussed issue, but not always approached correctly. As has been said many times, the Recovery Fund is an incredible opportunity, and I want to start precisely from this statement: it is a significant amount of resources that will come to our Country and which, if well employed, will allow us to modernise its performance in a whole series of sectors, from infrastructure to services. Yet, some aspects are important to underline. Usually, we hear it said in debates or read in the newspapers that we will have a flood of money to spend; in reality, the structure of the PNRR is a rather articulated one. We have around 191 billion euro coming from the European Plan, to which we can add a whole series of different resources that had already been planned, national resources such as those of the multiannual budget variance that was approved last April, which bring the total figure to 240 billion euro over a period ranging from today to 2026. But the most important thing, which is often overlooked, is that of this amount of money, a relatively small percentage is non-repayable because the much-discussed non-repayable share of this plan is only about 69 billion. The rest of the funding is divided into different categories: EUR 122/123 billion in loans guaranteed at the European level – and this is already an epoch-making step forward since we must remember that today Europe invests and guarantees the same kind of Europe that, at the beginning of this pandemic, saw the procurement battle over masks and other essential health equipment to deal with the emergency. So it must be clear that we do not have 240 billion euros to spend but to invest because if we invest and obtain returns, it will make sense. Otherwise, we will have 200 billion euros of debt to support, which means that we are essentially mortgaging resources today that belong to future generations. This is an important consideration that must involve all of us, starting with those who will play a role in defining the project measures; it is a call to responsibility since we have borrowed this money for the future, for those who will come after us. This is a call to responsibility since we have borrowed this money for the future, for those who will come after us. How this money will be invested has a clear frame of reference, represented by the PNRR, which has already been submitted to Europe. However, let us remember that that the document submitted to Europe is a document that sets out the lines of action, the general objectives and makes an initial allocation of resources concerning the macro objectives, the famous six areas of intervention. On the other hand, we can assess the effectiveness and efficiency of the investments we are putting in place when we shift from the plan to the project’s implementation, i.e. to a set of concrete action sheets that should tell us what to do when and so on.
If the planning document is a paper, I think of high quality, which identifies priorities and assigns a series of responsibilities in governance. But as far as the process of defining specific interventions is concerned, in my opinion, our Country still has some way to go. I have read the plan, and I have also mainly dwelled on the last decree of 31 May, number 77, the one that substantially defines governance, and I must say that it is still not very clear to me when it comes to projects, who proposes, who has the task of analysing and evaluating, and who has the final responsibility of approving them in an organic framework. Today everyone is preparing, from local authorities to universities to employers’ associations; everyone is preparing files for the PNRR, but what is missing is an organic approach centred on the needs of the territories, which is centred on the needs of the Country. It seems that while the reference framework defined by the plan is very well defined with clear choices, in this second part, we are lagging in terms of the work ahead of us. I would also like to point out the first part of the decree-law of 9 June, number 80, which defines urgent measures to strengthen the management capacities of the public administration to implement the PNRR. We are again falling into the trap of exceptional, extraordinary management instead of seeing this as an opportunity to strengthen, modernise, and simplify the bureaucratic and administrative apparatus so that it remains efficient and available for the Country’s future planning and growth capacity and the territories. It seems that an approach is being outlined in which these are exceptional resources, which will have a special channel, moreover with a hidden danger of creating a new class of precarious professionalism that we will have to deal with in a few years. We are coming from a tradition where some parts of the Country have experienced specific issues and have struggled to spend European funds, and I am talking about the old framework programmes. Therefore, let us not fall into the trap of looking for exceptional and parallel ways, because I think it is appropriate to try to use this opportunity to modernise, strengthen and make the whole administrative machine more efficient. Otherwise, we will find ourselves in the paradox of carrying out the same operation using different procedures and with different responsibilities that are difficult for the Public Administration to sustain. Much has also been saying about the territorial balance aspect. We must try to understand what we are leaving behind in the territories due to investments, mainly when discussing large-scale investments, especially of a tangible and intangible infrastructure nature, such as those envisaged in the PNRR. We must never forget that there are two types of a spin-off: there are short-term spin-offs, linked to the completion of the works, and medium- to long-term systemic spin-offs: if a new logistics hub is built in some area, this hub will probably lead to a growth in the industrial fabric in the medium to long term. Territorial investments, particularly the first aspect, are strongly interconnected, and several studies show this strong interconnection. Several studies demonstrate this strong interconnection. I often quote to my students by SRM entitled “Economic and productive interdependence between southern and northern Italy”, and it shows a straightforward thing. Given an infrastructural investment made in the South, as far as the first type of benefit is concerned, the immediate one, that of creating opportunities for the development of the existing productive fabric, 50% goes to the North, just 40% remains in the South, and 10% is at an international level. Therefore, if any infrastructural investment is made in the South, 50% of the immediate positive effects in the labour market benefits the North. Forty per cent typically benefits the companies in the areas where the investment is made, and 10 per cent has even international scope. If I turn the picture around, i.e. if I invest in the North, about 90% goes to the local market, with a spill-over of just under 5% for companies in the South; 10% remains an international advantage. So, arguing about whether 40%, 38%, 41%, is or is not suitable for the South is one part of the story, the other part of the story is: are we able to put the local productive fabric in a competitive position based on its skills? I think that this is another issue that is too often overlooked and which, instead, will have to be taken into consideration over the next 5-6 years; how can we promote industrial clusters capable of reversing this ratio of 50% for infrastructure built in the South directed to the North and 90% for infrastructure built in the North that remains in the North?
PAOLA PORCELLI, Director of the Eurispes office in Campania: Thank you, Rector, for the interesting insights you have offered us. Professor Felice Casucci, Councillor for Tourism of the Campania Region, will take the floor.
FELICE CASUCCI, Councillor for Tourism of the Campania Region: I thank you all. I would like to thank Eurispes in particular, which is organising this important initiative, allowing a moment of reflection that cannot be missed. Rector Canfora’s speech is proof of that. He brought forward issues that are dear to me: in particular, the issue of the sense of responsibility that must drive public investment policies. We must assess what we invest, but also recognise this moment’s exceptional and extraordinary nature. We are still in a constructive or creative phase because every day can change the scenario. For the Campania Region and, more specifically, for us, the Department for Administrative Simplification and Tourism, we recently received a note from the Conference of Regions and Autonomous Provinces through its Secretary General, informing us that the first meeting of the Advisory Committee for Administrative Transition, established by the Minister for Simplification and Public Administration, was held on 9 June 2021. The Committee was created to support the transformations in the Public Administration through the organisational motivation processes and the re-engineering of procedures linked both to digitalisation and to the broader concerned administrative reform to implement the National Recovery and Resilience Plan. This Committee sets out several indications: for example, it sets very tight deadlines for proposals on excellent digital public services (currently underused or partially diffused, which can be replicated and extended throughout the entire Country). We are, also from a lexical point of view, in a situation that has to move from the macro phase to the micro phase, from the framework to the sheets, and has to pass through the mesh of the Italian language vocabulary. The expectation of increasing administrative capacity and disseminating good practices is entrusted to excellent features already on the market, although not yet exploited. The statement seems principled and, in some respects, paradoxical. It would be necessary to identify possible technical, organisational and regulatory actions to make services accessible and usable by all and to maximise their use: this would be a “spiral” strategy because it starts from a limited list of objects and then extends to increasingly broader areas. We would have a short-term time horizon, in which a list of services should be defined on a qualitative basis, with the respective actions to be activated quickly. The National Tourism Commission wrote to us on 14 June 2021 to obtain the information requested by 16 June. If the Advisory Committee for Administrative Transition was set up to support the transformation of Public Administrations on a regional and local basis, we do not understand how such a delicate task can be completed in two days. In addition, the question is: what is this list of qualitative services; what are the ‘quantitative assessments’ that classify the actions? By July, from the set of services identified, it would be necessary to produce a list ordered based on objective assessments of the potential of the services and the cost of actions to remove obstacles to their dissemination. The assumption is that the list of services pre-exists and has a defined context, a perimeter to place it, and acknowledged language (the user’s profile, the obstacles’ characteristics, the priorities for action, etc.). If the promotion of digital services with potentially large user bases must already be advanced, with few and simple obstacles to be removed, the regions’ contribution can only be limited. The administrative transition towards simplification seems to be a central government affair. The progressive activation/implementation principle of digital public services seems to be reserved for a specialised audience. The areas on which the services’ proposals should focus are school enrolment, the electronic health file, proactive family welfare, the EU digital CODIV certificate, the electronic identity card, the single access point ( a universal access point to PA digital services), local services for citizens, and car inspection certificates. Faced with this extremely varied and extensive panorama, albeit within a limited timeframe, the Campania Region is adopting a Resolution containing strategic guidelines for Administrative Simplification, which is inspired by the European Digital Agenda (COM. no. 245/210) and the Three-Year Plan for Information Technology in Public Administration 2020/2022 (Prime Ministerial Decree of 17 July 2021). The aim is to strengthen the digital transition process at the regional level, rapidly arriving at an easy-to-use and high-performance App enabling citizens and businesses to access quick, efficient and accessible services. In line with the Digital Administration Code (CAD) of 2005, the regions, not unlike the state and local autonomies, must ensure the information in a digital mode (art. 2, paragraph 1). Think of the tourism sector, where the issue of digital transformation is only partially on the agenda of public planning strategies. The pandemic has created conditions for strong acceleration and unprecedented convergence between institutional levels. The administrative simplification and the consolidation of regional technological innovation, when connectivity is fundamental, make it essential for the Campania Region to broaden digital access to services and to implement new digital tools (WebApp, single app for all administrative procedures, institutional portal, etc.). It seems crucial to reduce the number of unnecessary interactions in the Public Administration and reduce bureaucracy’s time and costs. A great pact for cooperation between Directorates and Special Offices converges on establishing a state of digital combination that includes regulations, guidelines and codes of conduct for building up a comprehensive set of values supporting a new generation of active citizenship.
PAOLA PORCELLI, Director of the Eurispes office in Campania: Councillor Casucci, thank you for your intervention and kind words. Next, I give the floor to Mr Nicola Caputo, Councillor for Agriculture of the Campania Region. Thank you.
NICOLA CAPUTO, Councillor for Agriculture of the Campania Region: Thank you all, and congratulations on this exemplary initiative which finally allows us to talk about concrete issues and the future of our Country and our Region. I listened to the speeches, which were all very interesting, including Felice’s, who is always very attentive to procedures. I greet all those invited to this panel discussion. I would like to make a few remarks outside of the traditional discussion to emphasise – and, strangely, I am doing this as a councillor and a politician – that goes beyond the ordinary meaning of political intervention. Starting from the title, “Recovery without mortgages”, I would like to reflect on our Country’s current situation. Having had the experience of being a parliamentarian in Europe, I’ve been reading up on what’s happening in other countries, and frankly, I’ve been amazed by the efficiency of France in this respect. Moreover, even a simple name, such as “France Relance”, sums up the synthesis of planning and clarity of the intervention, with specific and clear initiatives and a much more limited time limit than the one our Country is putting in place.
The actual mortgage we have in Italy, and therefore also in our Region, is the bureaucratic infrastructure that harasses us. From this point of view, Felice, who is making an effort to simplify procedures and processes in our Region, certainly knows more about this than I. In my opinion, the concept must be much more straightforward: we must be able to use this opportunity, which has been determined by the pandemic phase, as the last chance we have to catch up with other countries and regions. This is a kind of post-war New Deal, and the Country had to prepare itself a little more appropriately. To be honest, I am a little critical about how this whole process is being handled at the national level, which is made up of documents, often written by great consultants, but which are then not followed up with operational results. Instead, we should do the opposite, and I must say that in the Campania Region, we are preparing ourselves from this point of view, also with a transversal structure that can better seize the opportunities and give the right directions to the processes. In agriculture, we need to revitalise a sector that is about to be considered primary once again. Therefore, we are trying to use these opportunities mainly to remove obstacles linked to the sustainability of the environment by implementing sustainable activities that can somehow help us overcome these difficulties and enable our most representative sectors to operate. In particular, as Campania Region and as Department of Agriculture, we would have the opportunity – in addition to the national PNRR funds – to combine our traditional agricultural funding resources with a portion of the PNRR, which we are already planning to use to remove environmental obstacles to more advanced and sustainable agriculture. We have also defined the idea with the President to leave a lasting record of what we have done with these additional funds. This is also because, ever since I took office as Councillor for Agriculture, the first thought I had is that after several cycles of European programming funds, looking back, there has been no change of direction in our sector. We must therefore make every possible effort to take advantage of this opportunity. However, we can only do so if that mortgage, that limitation I referred to earlier, that bureaucratisation, truly becomes an opportunity for our businesses and our regions. In short, I would like our Country, and consequently our Region, to take advantage of these many resources, since this is the last chance we have. And we have no mitigating circumstances, neither from the point of view of legality nor, as Felice said a moment ago, any other point of view. It is a responsibility that the entire ruling class must take on. We are here, and I thank you for this opportunity because we must all stand together and shape a new system that can ensure our Region and Country’s development. Thank you.
PAOLA PORCELLI, Director of the Eurispes office in Campania: Councillor Caputo, we thank you for your intervention, and at this point, the floor is passed to Councillor Nicola Graziano for the aspect relating to jurisdiction.
NICOLA GRAZIANO, magistrate at the Court of Benevento: Good morning, everyone. Thank you for the invitation. I have a difficult task because now, the Justice System is under a series of spotlights that, from time to time, create trouble and embarrassment and sometimes prejudice. All this becomes more complex if we refer to a consideration made by President Gian Maria Fara in the last Italy Report. In the introductory part of the report, the President also addresses the issue of justice. Obviously, I am referring to the 33rd Italy Report, and in the paragraph, on the excessive length of the trial in Italy, he says: “Justice is a problem of the general functionality of an essential service that must be offered to citizens”, and then he addresses the issue of criminal justice, in particular its inefficiency. You realise that the attention that Eurispes has always paid to justice has been embodied in these words of reflection by the President, who obviously has witnessed this over the 33 years of the Reports, which have in some way oriented political choices and institutional choices because of the strength of the research that Eurispes carries out. And I am delighted to take part in the Scientific Committee of the Institute, and thanks to Lawyer Porcelli and his energy and commitment, we have finally opened an office in Campania, of which we are particularly proud. That said, and in the knowledge that this first important event outlines the future of what can be done in the Campania region in terms of research and study, I must tell you that perhaps the issue of the judicial system and its operation is the central theme among all those that we have addressed so far. Indeed, talking about the ineffectiveness of the judicial system means taking into account the effects that affect the fundamental rights of citizens and the weakest people living in our Country. But most of all, this is coming from a person who has been a judge delegated to bankruptcies at the Court of Naples for ten years and who is now working at the Business Court in the specialised section of the Court of Naples with regional jurisdiction over the economic affairs of the Campania region. I am perfectly aware that the effects of the malfunctioning of the judicial system inevitably affect the economic development that we are talking about. Just read the PNRR documents to see that the European Union has made judicial reform a fundamental condition for granting these funds. This is because we have been experiencing the same problems for years: legal uncertainty, lengthy trials, breach of contract, very long insolvency and crisis procedures, and so forth about civil proceedings. You can see that there are some doubts about the application of penalties. There are problems relating to the separation of judicial powers; I believe that this is an issue that must inevitably be tackled once and for all at this point.
Moreover, there is the problem of revising the mandatory nature of criminal prosecution. There is the problem of the responsibility of judges and prosecutors for the actions they take when the conditions are met (because this can no longer be a silent issue). In addition, there is the problem of investigations, interceptions, amnesty and prisons. You see, a State that pretends to be modern and aims to keep up with the fast and modern way of the European Union cannot fail to answer these questions. So we read in the PNRR a series of measures that in some way have been conditioned by the European Union and that will have to be implemented, I ask myself, and I tell: from now on are those the ideas that will solve the problem or do we need to have renewed courage, do we need to finally make it clear indeed the responsibilities of Justice’s actors?
A reform of the judiciary can no longer be postponed but must include a review of the power of the SCM, a real and concrete evaluation of the professionalism of magistrates because today – I say this internally – it may seem unbelievable. Still, over 98% of evaluations are always positive. Therefore, once and foremost, we must begin to consider whether there are different criteria for assessing professionalism or if we need to review the executive powers of the presidents of courts, sections and so on. Because if this is not done, we will always find ourselves talking about the same system, the same problem and the same issues ten years from now. And so I will say this: I welcome the first reforms that have now been implemented. I have read with great attention the decree-law 80/2021 because several articles refer to both civil and administrative justice while criminal justice is a little bit set aside because we are waiting for the delegated bill in Parliament. Well, the legislator has chosen, with a statement of urgency, to follow two routes: strengthening the trial office and hiring several professionals to implement the power of digital justice to try to achieve a reduction in delays. Imagine the idea of a reasonable trial time, I am talking in particular about the civil one.
The criminal justice system must be reviewed with a focus on the certainty of punishment, including in connection with a review of the mandatory nature of criminal prosecutions. However, this must be exercised effectively and with certainty. Otherwise, we are a system that short-circuits. I believe that this can only be solved to a minimal extent, because if we are not aware of the responsibilities of those involved in the justice system, but we will never meet the wishes of the European Union (which also means legal civility, reduction of backlogs and delays, regarding the unreasonable length of the process), no matter what kind of regulatory solution we may find.
Therefore, we are waiting for an essential reform of the civil trial where the PNRR refers to a strong incentive of the assisted negotiation, of the mediation of the filters in appeal in Cassation and specialisation, of a reduction of the rites about the briefness of the acts and their digitalisation; all this is the tip of an iceberg because if there is no specific organisational, legal and judicial response, we will not come to the solution. I applaud this because I have always said it on every occasion I did I mention this. Obviously, regarding assisted mediation, negotiation and filters, it means referring to and appealing to a degree of maturity among legal practitioners that I believe is still far from being achieved. Because the idea of being able to delegate justice privately is fundamental, however, this idea presupposes, even beforehand, legal security, a standard of ethical and moral rules to which we have just referred. This is essential, and I believe that this is the path that the legislator must follow, and in my very personal opinion, this may be the wake-up call and, above all, the perspective that must be identified. In this respect, the Eurispes Institute, which is hosting us today, is a reference that has been leading the way for years, so we can continue this study all together with very authoritative representatives this morning and even more in the afternoon, because they concern precisely the problem of justice, particularly about the Public Prosecutor’s Office. There are substantial problems with it, and we will certainly be able to talk about what I have mentioned: the career separation. We must think about a new form of responsibility for magistrates, public prosecutors because it can no longer be postponed. I very much agree, for example, on the right of lawyers to vote concerning the notion of professionalism of magistrates. I have written about it, and I have said it, and I repeat it because this is a central issue: there is no difference between one side or the other. I do not believe that lawyers can vote prejudicially against an abusive magistrate. I have never seen this happen, nor have I even thought about it, because when there are two responsibilities involved, it becomes clear that we are all on the same side, which is the justice system in which we participate, which we must take care of, and for which we ask for the implementation of the measures envisaged in the PNRR to be concrete and immediate. This is especially important because Europe is asking us to do so, but above all, because the idea that we belong to a democratic state under the rule of law, such as our Republic, is calling for it, and this obviously cannot but lead to efficient service to justice. I would have many other things to say, but I leave you with some insights that I believe could inspire further discussion among us, within the Institute, with other institutions, with the present institutions today. I believe that in the justice sector, there is no such thing as who participates and who doesn’t, we are all involved as citizens, and therefore we must claim this right, but above all, we must respect our duties, and I thank you for that. And, of course, I greet all the speakers, who are people I feel close to with great affection and friendship, so I do feel at home today, because that’s what Eurispes is all about, a big family in which we all have the opportunity to grow and assert our ideas, and this is thanks to President Fara, who has always been an inspiration for us.
PAOLA PORCELLI, Director of the Eurispes office in Campania: I would like to thank Councillor Nicola Graziano, who has been a member of the Eurispes family for a very long time now and who, with his numerous and vital contributions, offers, I might say, valuable work for the community and I would like to thank him for accepting our invitation to participate in this first event organised by the Campania office. We hope it will be the first of a long series. I would now like to introduce another member of the Eurispes family, General Preziosa, President of the Eurispes Observatory on Security. General, you have the floor.
PASQUALE PREZIOSA, President of the Eurispes Observatory on Security: I greet everyone. It’s a pleasure to be with you here today. My thoughts go to President Fara, and I wish him well. I would like to thank the Rector for his lesson in planning based on intended effects rather than words, and Dr Graziano for his lesson in civilisation, including legal civilisation. Today, of course, we have to talk about a ‘mortgage-free economic recovery’ from criminal organisations and the recovery Found for our Country. I will globally address the problem because it affects not only Italy but all the States. All States, except China, reported a decrease in GDP during the pandemic. However, this also happened, in the same way, during the financial crisis of 2008. The economic recovery related to the Recovery Fund for European Countries could be slowed down if the available funds do not reach the financing of the established projects within the planned timeframe if the administrative management is not more effective than the current one.
Moreover, for Italy, the economic recovery could be affected if the Anti-Mafia Prosecutor’s Offices do not fight the infiltration of Mafia criminality within the public administration. The problem of securing funds to recover countries’ economies is now central to the European debate. In terms of security, Europe is interested in the fight against financial laundering and the safety of the tax revenues that will feed the funds being distributed for the recovery (Europe loses between 40 and 85 billion euros a year in tax evasion). Unfortunately, the only shared value we should know in Western societies is money, which makes people acquire consensus and power. Both the UN and the European Union have taken action to fight mafia crime, identifying corruption as the main element to be addressed as it is considered the “third-millennium plague”. The UN estimates that 800 billion to 2,000 billion dollars are laundered annually, or between 2% and 5% of countries’ global GDP. In Italy, approximately 140 billion euros are laundered annually. Falcone has consistently argued that the real key to overcoming organised crime is to fight financial laundering, which facilitates crime, undermines financial systems and damages economies. So far, international anti-money laundering regimes have failed. During globalisation, markets and governments have tolerated a massive flood of dirty money flooding into the legal economy on the misguided belief that this wealth would still enable development: this was a tragic mistake.
A new European Money Laundering Control Agency will be operational within the next two years, with supervisory powers over the EU institutions. The onset of the digital age has led to a widening of the frontiers of crime in general and mafia crime in particular to the cyber field. Global cybercrime has already caused a trillion dollars to be diverted from economies, and its value has increased by 50% in the two years since the pandemic began. Bitcoins and equivalent currencies are now the so-called ‘invisible laundering’ tool by mafias and international terrorism. Unfortunately, El Salvador was the first Country in the world to recognise bitcoin as an official currency that can be used to purchase goods and services and pay taxes. The official recognition of bitcoin as an official currency took all other countries by surprise and was not a good sign in response to the fight against money laundering. On this front, it is worth mentioning that the predecessor of the current President of El Salvador (Salvador Sanchez Ceren) has an international arrest warrant pending for money laundering and corruption and the US Treasury Department is reportedly about to send notices to major financial institutions accusing them of money laundering through cryptocurrencies. The online gaming sector is also of major interest to mafia criminals. Illegal gaming in Italy is worth a fifth of the legal collection (106 billion euro), or 20-25 billion euro. As for the security of tax revenues, I would like to highlight that Amazon, as reported by the media, even though it reported a high global profit during the pandemic period, reported instead of a loss of USD 1 billion in the 2020 budget presented by its European branch in Luxembourg, which allowed the company to obtain tax benefits. The UN has addressed corruption, the plague of the third millennium, and a special Assembly session was held in June 2021 to prepare concrete and technical proposals to fight corruption. The President of the UN General Assembly stated that there could be no post-pandemic economic recovery without a concerted effort to end corruption. The Economic and Social Council has estimated that $2.6 trillion is lost annually due to corruption, 50% among developing countries. For the problem of tax avoidance and fraud, the Commission estimates that Europe loses between EUR 40 and 85 billion every year. The European problem is partly due to the unanimity criterion that blocks the processes of countries’ taxation regulatory adjustments, with Luxembourg and Ireland being hostile to the changes proposed by the majority of EU countries. Through the Business in Europe: Framework for Income Taxation or the so-called BEFIT, the European Commission will develop in 2023 the capacity to supervise so-called Shell Companies or Chinese boxes to curb tax evasion. The European Parliament’s Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee has also stated that Europe’s Recovery cannot be supported with a system that allows hundreds of billions of euros of taxes paid by citizens to be lost to evasion and fraud.
Therefore, the front of the fight is twofold: one is represented by corruption and the other by evasion and fraud. In terms of preventing the identified criminal phenomena, Europe, in its document Next Generation EU, instructs all countries to detect and correct corruption and prevent it. In real terms, corruption occurs whenever there are colluding professionals and entrepreneurs on the one hand and unfaithful public administration professionals on the other. Not only that, mafia crime today produces perverse effects on the cornerstones of national security, namely the economy and democracy. A new European Money Laundering Control Agency with supervisory powers over the EU institutions will be launched within the next two years. The most outstanding money laundering case in Europe occurred in Northern Europe with Danske Bank, which laundered almost 200 billion euros of Russian money through its Estonian subsidiaries between 2007 and 2015. Europe will have to make a final effort to harmonise criminal laws to make standard both the definition of the crime of mafia association and to develop, again at the European level, anti-money laundering legislation to stem the expansion of mafias in Europe. We are no longer faced with a problem of public order or even economic order; the threat is to democracy and hence to the freedom of individuals. Criminal organisations, which have always been able to adapt to crisis scenarios, have already infiltrated the Country’s precariousness during the pandemic, providing so-called replacement services. The subsidiarity of criminal organisations will allow more significant laundering of the large amounts of illegal capital collected. The liquidity crisis also risks generating greater criminal infiltration into the economic fabric of our Country. The National Anti-Mafia and Anti-Terrorism Prosecutor, whom we will hear this afternoon, said that the development of mafias is on the economic front. To preserve the recovery Found from camorristic, ‘ndrangheta and autonomous mafia infiltrations, it will be crucial to strengthen the prevention phase without resorting to control exemptions, as this constitutes one of the weaknesses the anti-corruption system.
EURISPES has repeatedly pointed out the need to amend the Procurement Code to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of the public administration. In the meantime, preference should be given to the instrument of design finance, where possible, which makes the contractor responsible for the faster completion of the work, and allows the public administration to focus on the entrepreneurial and economic-financial requirements of the economic operators. Furthermore, the DIA could offer its contribution to fighting corruption and mafia influence in development projects. The involvement of the DIA would be highly recommended from the beginning of the Country’s reconstruction process. The Directorate could offer its contribution in parallel with the European Public Prosecutor’s Office to counteract any phenomenon of mafia pollution of the development projects connected to the Recovery Fund, such as undue interception of the financial flows, exploitation of the resources to recycle the criminal proceeds, use of the instrument of intimidation and corruption. I would like to close by saying that Piedmont has already experimented with prevention modules to combat crime infiltration in the first pandemic cycle with good results. I thank you for your attention.
PAOLA PORCELLI, Director of the Eurispes office in Campania: General, I thank you for your contribution, which I am sure will open a short debate also with the speakers who will follow your presentation. I don’t know if Mr Marino is on the line. He should be the next to speak. I give the floor to Mr Marino, President of ANCI Campania, mayor of Caserta and therefore local and territorial administration. Mayor, the floor is yours.
CARLO MARINO, President of ANCI Campania, mayor of Caserta: First of all, good morning to everyone, good morning to you as EURISPES. I think that the Institute has done an extraordinary job with this meeting, and I greet all the speakers. It’s clear that starting from what is your fundamental element, that is to work in the political, economic and social research of our Country, to tell the story of the Italy that has been built, but also the Italy that is being built, certainly puts at the centre the national plan for recovery and resilience. And it’s fundamental to understand through the Next Generation and the EU programming 21/27 what the key element of recovery can be. Mr Caputo has already said it. The French have done something narrower. They called it the Recovery Plan and closed the game. We are complex in everything, articulated, not only in reading the 273 pages of the recovery or the 3. 500 in English, but we are also complex on the title, we were good at confusing citizens, a simple word was enough, and then we should explain to the ordinary citizen what resilience is. But about this, as experts, today we know it, we have gone ahead; if we want to digitalise the Country, one of the missions of this recovery is to make it less bureaucratic. We should also make this Country’s language less bureaucratic, and perhaps this would help us better construct the innovative thoughts that we need to put into the field: subject, predicate and complement … that’s it, and we will move faster. However, starting from a more detailed analysis of what can be an opportunity for the Country and the South, naturally, the territorial authorities are an essential piece of this plan and an important player.
We do not hide the fact that we believe we are a stakeholder: the Campania region includes 550 municipalities, whereas 8,000 in Italy, and we think we can aim, together with others from the academic, innovation and research sectors and with other areas of the territory and the Country, to build a proposal, a vision, a strong idea of a strategy for spending the money. I fear that, as Councillor Casucci reminded us earlier, all of us are receiving notes from the various ministries, from the MEF or the Ministry of Cohesion Policies, and these notes certainly do not help us to build a different perspective. A few years ago, we experienced an innovative institute in our Region, but no longer in use, which was called “Acceleration of expenditure”, i.e., at a certain point, things were spread and whoever came first … they called them projects, but they were simply things that did not bring development, competitiveness and social cohesion to our Region. I would not want that model – which, fortunately for us, did not last long – to be the one established in these missions. We have to build through a lot of money coming in and through many serious, concrete, specific project proposals. It is clear that where there is discomfort, where there is the difficulty, especially in the South, as Casucci said earlier, you cannot state that if one is already well ahead, we want to help make it even stronger. Instead, here there are shortcomings in local authorities where we must build a stronger digitalisation of public administration, where competence is needed because it is evident that competence is the challenge of the future. In all the Administrations, even more so in the local ones, the Country has not invested in competencies but has invested thinking that costs could be reduced by decreasing the number of personnel. You can decrease the number, but you have to increase the skills, decrease the human capital, but enhance reliable human resources, those who then become effective thanks to new ideas, governance actions and actions of modernity of the new vision of the Public Administration. About this, of course, as I was saying before, we, as local authorities, absolutely want to discuss and share with the other players in the area a common path, a common idea; to do so with the Campania Region, to do so with the local authorities, but also to do so through a system that is both vertical and horizontal, so that we operate quickly concerning the choices that we have to make. It is not the only material infrastructure that is needed, but also many intangible structures that build the credibility of our South, and that this is not the only issue involved (we are well aware that 40% is not a real number because it also includes the money that we already have to take from the 2021/2027 programme, so there would be much to discuss resources). Then, about resources, we must understand with other players in the area and other local stakeholders how to create a common Campania region. Because there is another element, in my opinion, that we risk in this speeding up, this acceleration that we must do on all procedures: the acceleration of spending that we have to do about all our ideas, must have a common vision, which is called Campania, which is called South, which starts from the bottom and goes up to national governance. We certainly cannot think that a single municipality can present a single project. We must talk about homogeneous areas. We must talk about common areas. We must talk about homogeneous areas and territorial authorities -and other authorities – about the other local specific features. Then, we must make these local specific characteristics competitive, building them through new skills and innovation and research, which are the mission points. We cannot operate on individual missions thinking that, since they are not specific to Campania, they will become the strategic hubs for Campania. We still haven’t started to discuss whether we are going to focus on the hub of the Health Right, whether we are going to focus on the hub of the ecological transition, whether we are going to have specific hubs on innovation and research with the academic community, we still don’t understand this. Above all, we don’t understand who and what they have to do because we get a series of letters from the Ministries, but they don’t tell us: “look, you have to make a services agreement. I am saying something trivial: you have to make a programme agreement, you have to make a strategic development plan of all the stakeholders of the territory, you have to make a strategic development contract of all the local actors”. The model can play a fundamental role, and if we have an efficient and effective model, we will achieve a result. If not, what we are all unfortunately already seeing will happen: we will only have a whole range of projects that we are requested to, and we will all perform the task we have to fulfil, trying to bring them to our communities, to our territories, but we will not build a system, we will not create a new opportunity for the South and Campania.
Campania must restore a leading role for the South, we are the ones who must lead the South, and the territories must lead the South, but to do this, we must be together, and we must identify the elements that can bring us together concerning the idea and vision of the territory. In our opinion, this is the idea, and in my opinion, Eurispes can provide us with great support, precisely because you work independently on some strategic points that concern the Italian plan. At the moment it’s the Campania plan and, in my opinion, Eurispes can give a contribution in building these models that we have to implement, with definite timeframes, reliable paths and with the capacity that those projects will then become strategic to increase our GDP, not only the economic one but also the social one.
PAOLA PORCELLI, Director of the Eurispes office in Campania: Mr President, I thank you, and we certainly welcome your requests and agree with you about the importance of having an overall view at this particular moment in history and grasping the importance of creating a system. Unfortunately, if we do not think from this perspective, we could end up with only sterile fragmentation, which is not likely to achieve the optimum that we all expect during the post-pandemic crisis. Thank you, Mr President, and now I will hand the floor over to notary Ambrogio Romano, Chairman of the Notary Committee of the Campania Region for the professions that are currently called upon to take on a new and important role challenge.
AMBROGIO ROMANO, President of the Regional Notary Committee for the professions: Thank you, Lawyer Porcelli, thank you above all for allowing me to participate in this stimulating and prestigious meeting in the presence of a panel of speakers of very high profile, some of whom I am linked to by friendship and fellowship and towards whom I have great respect because of their evident reputation, which testifies to their personal and professional institutional value. Therefore, I would like to thank Eurispes and the Benevento Bar Association and its President Stefania Pavone, whom I had the pleasure of listening to at the very beginning of this meeting. The speeches that preceded me have laid the foundations for sharing articulate reflections. Therefore, what I am going to say is by no means new. It has already been outlined to some extent. However, I will try to go further into some aspects to enable fruitful discussions with you and the participants. I would like to start with the title of the meeting: recovery, … “a recovery without mortgages”. It is a metaphorical title that is used precisely to show the dangers connected to the recovery process emerging from the legislation.
The metaphor of the claim against the security of the mortgage, which, as we shall see, is perhaps not the right one because I would probably talk about recovery without a surety rather than without a mortgage, and then I will explain why because it seems to me that the danger is more in personal guarantees than in actual ones. Why do we need to organise, implement and enforce a recovery? Because we are suffering from a severe crisis. A crisis that the media sensationally call unprecedented daily. I don’t know if this is an unprecedented crisis. Probably all crises have peculiarities that make them unprecedented.
Nevertheless, it is undoubtedly a serious crisis, even more so because of its ability to create discomfort for citizens on a direct economic level, which is a critical profile, but also because of its ability to accelerate and exacerbate a process of deconstruction of society, which was already underway, in my opinion. This is a highly insidious process, although ambivalent and also promising some positive prospects. Zygmunt Bauman, a well-known philosopher, who has been the object of a sort of media appropriation that has perhaps trivialised his thinking, who recently passed away, said that our society had become a liquid society, a society without structures. This is absolutely true, and Umberto Eco also took up this principle in recent times. Nowadays, in our social context, we actually no longer have any landmarks to which we can direct our hopes, expectations, and operational plans to achieve the results that are the result of self-determination, which then embodies citizens’ freedom.
Obviously, all this makes self-determination itself more problematic. But at the same time, in some ways, it also opens up scenarios in which positive prospects can be identified. I am not saying anything new, but I am probably stating another familiar cliché by pointing out that the very concept of crisis is an ambivalent one. Crisis, as you well know, derives from the Greek verb “κρίνω”, (“crino”), which basically refers to a choice, a selection, therefore, to be afflicted by a crisis means to suffer difficulties that make you leave a comfort zone, a comforting everyday life and force you to make choices. Therefore, they force you to direct the guidelines of your actions in new, unprecedented directions, which can be extremely fascinating but can also be very dangerous and very problematic, a bit like the new Pillars of Hercules for Dante’s Ulysses. We know that the regulatory intervention, or at least the set of regulatory interventions that are the object of our discussion, believe they can solve the crisis through a massive injection of liquidity into the institutions and civil society.
Of course, this is a correct procedure from an economic point of view, and given that the State and civil society cannot fail, they cannot be abandoned to their fate; the only chance we are given is basically to sustain their proper functioning to the bitter end, in order then to revitalise and make reliable the mechanisms for producing and sharing the wealth. But beware, it has already been said that this liquidity release is not a gift; it is not a non-refundable release. It is only a tiny percentage of it, as the previous speakers clearly emphasised. Therefore, taking advantage of this liquidity injection means incurring a debt that we will have to honour and then essentially fulfil, which basically involves our own personal guarantee and that of our descendants. The circumstance we are approaching, the resolution of the crisis, perhaps even by reasonable means by contracting a debt, shows that we clearly have to become aware of the responsibility that derives from it. There is no such thing as debt without responsibility; one is liable for debts, says the Civil Code, Article 240, with all one’s assets, present and future. Unfortunately, this is not a metaphor, but a fact, so basically, we are approaching a situation that can give us breathing space and prospects, provided we know how to deal with it accountably.
It is an institutional responsibility for decision-makers, it is a professional responsibility for professionals, it is a social responsibility. But since society is made up of individuals, it also becomes an individual responsibility for which we must all be responsible. How, in principle, do we interpret and testify to a proper assumption of responsibility? Obviously, each citizen must do so about their own prerogatives and powers. Political decision-makers must certainly do so when they are called upon to identify plausible ways of restoring a broken society – pardon the play on words. Still, I actually said that the incredible impact of the crisis has, in my view, resulted in an erosion of the traditional content of the institutions and of society’s formal references. This process has clearly made it necessary to give these institutions a new, reliable structure and a new and substantial character. Political decision-makers must use their planning skills to imagine a new, renewed socio-institutional structure that will enable us to envisage a possible recovery. This, of course, must be the task of administrators, who in some ways differ from politicians in a purely formal sense. Nevertheless, politicians in the strict sense are called upon, at least now, in the sense that I am giving to this reconstruction of mine, to take decisions concerning the future, to define the rules that must govern the path to recovery. Public administration must be simplified, and I agree with what has previously been said. We have a bureaucracy that is probably redundant, and in this redundancy lies the basis for corruption, money laundering and all the phenomena that lead to blatant criminality and undermine the dynamics of the fair sharing of wealth. Many have already mentioned this and has been very effectively underlined by Felice Casucci, who is, as usual, very clear in his vision and very effective in his statements.
We must act at a preparedness level, and we must act at a project level. It is essential to repress and punish in the right measure, and therefore, the repressive litigation jurisdiction must be adequate. However, I believe that, beforehand, the non-contentious jurisdiction must be effective, the jurisdiction intended as a system of rules for the implementation of legality, which is at the base of the self-determination of the citizens and which consists in the supporting work that the professionals’ institutions must put in place to allow the citizens’ self-determination to be conveyed towards balanced, legal orthodoxy, usefulness and ethics. Legality has often been mentioned. But what is legality? Legality is respect for the rules, and the rules are nothing more than the affirmation of those organisational instances functional to the implementation of justice. Defining justice is not easy. Modern theories that define justice consider it a compendium and a synthesis of individual freedom and equality. Individual freedom is the space that must be given to citizens to determine themselves by realising their vision, wishes and interests in the rules of the State or in the society in which they are living.
Equality is obviously that quantitative constraint that enhances the qualitative essence of freedom through a paradoxical and virtuous mechanism. Freedom is limited by the need to respect the equal and equivalent freedom of others, and the virtuous paradox lies in the circumstance that quantitatively restricting freedom means exalting its intrinsic content. If justice is a synthesis and compendium of freedom and equality, then I see a very strong incentive in the second paragraph of Article 3 of the Constitution for professionals and notaries in particular. The second paragraph, as you know, but I am stating it as a reminder to myself, obviously comes after the first paragraph, which recognises all citizens as having ‘equal dignity’, considering them as equal and, of course, stating categorically that they must not suffer discrimination based on ‘sex, race, language, religion, political opinion, personal and social conditions’. This article seems to be taken for granted today, but it is probably not so obvious, considering that it came into force in 1948, a year and a half after women voted for the first time, and therefore, a year and a half before that, it does not seem to me that there was such a clear vision of equality. We must work hard on values precisely because we must never take them for granted. The second paragraph of the article says: “The Republic has to remove economic and social obstacles which, by limiting the freedom and equality of citizens – and therefore justice – prevent the full development of human beings and the effective participation of all workers in the political, economic and social organisation of the country”. I believe that this article constitutes the constitutional foundation of the professions and of the Notariat, which, among the professions, is distinguished by the fact that, in addition to being a professional, it is also the holder of a public trust granted by the State. Therefore, a perhaps even more direct consequence, but I do not believe that this distinction is relevant, is that they must empower citizens in their self-determination. They must overcome and remove the obstacles and imbalances that are clearly inherent in cultural, relational, awareness and economic deficits that could basically prevent citizens from accessing, as the article says, ‘equal social dignity’. I believe that this task, which the Constitution clearly and firmly entrusts to us, which is a great task and which makes our identity a powerful one, and charges us with social responsibilities -which are individual – should really be directed, in a decisive manner, through the specific, ethical and rigorous exercise of our profession, The institution of the State. Moreover, the State has the power to act as a guardian of the interests of its citizens and must be connected to them. Also, the State has the power to act as a guarantor of citizens’ rights and duties. In its very essence, the institution of the State, and even the law itself, is not a priori concepts that are justified in their name but are justified insofar as they are instrumental to the well-being of the citizens, to social organisation. I believe that we must work precisely in this direction. Action must be taken at all levels; at the tax level, for example, because citizens can’t carry a tax burden that is probably absolutely unreasonable, not only in terms of what the individual can tolerate but also in terms of the services that are offered in exchange for social solidarity. However, simplifying does not mean trivialising. Trivialising would mean abdicating the system of controls that would guarantee legality and thus guarantee justice. On the contrary, we must implement the jurisdictional dynamics – and I refer both to the non-contentious jurisdiction – which is the antithesis of the deterrence of the aberration that is the object of the contentious jurisdiction, and to the latter, which must act, obviously, in a sanctioning and compensatory manner, so that justice, understood as social equilibrium, can be implemented. I believe that education, culture and training must play a major role in redefining the characteristics of civil society. At a closer look, organised crime is a concept that is clearly stated by some philosophers of modern times, but perhaps we don’t hear much about it today. Philosophers, instead, together with poets, are placed by Plato at the top of the social organisation. Philosophers make us realise that the most stupid, equivocal aberration we can fall into is confusing means with ends. Money is the means par excellence and allows us to achieve ends; we consider it the absolute end, and for the sake of money, we commit crimes. In the name of money, we betray the rules of civil society and, above all, we deny being reasonable. We must acquire a more accurate awareness of these concepts because, after all, those who commit crimes are afflicted by a perceptive aberration regarding the desire that must be pursued through the work of self-determination of citizens. We must implement the necessary controls, we must ensure that citizens, with the help of professionals, can safely access what they want for themselves, and at the same time, we must do this within a discerning, honest, transparent State that simplifies its procedures without trivialising them. Thank you very much.
PAOLA PORCELLI, Director of the Eurispes office in Campania: I would like to thank the notary Romano who, as usual, succeeds in covering a wide range of topics in his cross-cutting speeches, which in turn offer many ideas. I will now pass the floor to Mr Giosy Romano, President of ASI Naples.
GIOSY ROMANO, President of the ASI of Naples: Yes, thank you Lawyer, good morning to you all. Obviously, many things have already been said and certainly better than I could have told them. I will try to focus on a few thoughts that relate more specifically to my field of vision, that of a public economic body, and therefore a bridge between the business world and central institutions. I would like to start with one consideration: we have a historic opportunity, as those who have spoken before have said it so well. A historic opportunity dictated by this river – as the Magnificent Rector defined it earlier – of funds that will arrive in our Country due to the PNRR, an acronym that is also so difficult to pronounce that it already demonstrates difficulties of making it operational. However, I believe that to take advantage of this opportunity. We should start by considering past mistakes to avoid repeating them. We all know that European funds have unfortunately not generated great fortunes in our Country, in the sense that, for the most part, the major works have remained unfinished, and there has only been a race to get an accounting for the money spent, either well or, more often, badly compared to the money disbursed. This is a circumstance that even President Draghi, at the States-General of the South, highlighted: a past in which European funds were not spent with particular care. I believe that the first reason is to be found in the insufficiency of intangible resources, in the lack of human resources capable of managing processes, in a broader sense. I believe that we are facing a lack of awareness: if up to now European funds have been small compared to those that now awaits us, and the human capital available for the management of these funds is the same as that which is now at the basis of the system, I believe we are about to repeat the same mistake. We, as the Italian Confederation of Economic Development, has been stressing for some time now the need to introduce intermediate bodies in the management of the funds to accompany the managing authorities. Intermediate bodies that do not mean duplication or the introduction of new power management mechanisms, but exclusively take advantage of the existence on the market of talented human resources, willing to give a hand to the Managing Authorities. This is why we have long been requesting that the Confederation also be recognised as an intermediate body in applying Regulation 1203 of 2013 of the European Community, which allows individual Managing Authorities to use intermediate bodies to manage funds. This would not create a new class of bureaucrats capable of managing the funds but would make it possible to take advantage of the existing ones to ensure that the funds are used more quickly and with greater certainty, including reporting. Alongside this mechanism, this attempt to remedy the mistakes of the past, in our view, we also need to take action on an aspect that has been highlighted several times: the reform of the Procurement Code. We all agree that each of us is thinking about mitigation or introducing different rules for certain problems. Practically, I believe that two simple rules would be enough to accelerate downstream of the design, and, therefore, of what I said before to be the problem of funds in implementing the projects. In my opinion, the implementation of the projects can be speeded up if we abolish the standstill clause, which provides for the possibility of signing the contract only after the expiry of the period provided for by the rule, partially simplified in the Simplification Decree (in which the threshold was lowered but the clause was still there). The other aspect is introducing, also in the administrative procedure, a sort of filter, as already provided for in civil proceedings for the appeal, in the presentation of appeals against awards. Here, and I say this as a modest legal practitioner, we experience daily the lodging of appeals by the second-placed bidder in any tender procedure, for the simple fact of having come second, and thus of gambling on a chance through an appeal to the regional administrative tribunal; I believe that a filter should be introduced for this, even with exemplary sentences from the point of view of legal costs – we have seen that the introduction of a substantial unified contribution in tender procedures was of no use in terms of deterring people from lodging appeals – and I believe that a different approach is needed. Notary Romano before me also referred to the instruments for the settlement of disputes, and I believe these should be addressed, by introducing a sort of preventive protection rather than a mere application of the principle of self-defence, as currently regulated. Very often, the officials and managers of the Public Administration are not accustomed to using the instrument of self-defence because they consider it a sort of admission of their own mistake, almost something to be ashamed of.
Therefore, why not consider the introduction of a system of preventive protection by a third party, which could examine, in a preventive manner, the requests aimed at the invalidation of a measure and that could affect those in an absolutely objective manner, helping to save the length of an administrative process that, although marked by speed with the precautionary aspects, is still a process that determines waiting times?
I believe that these are concrete recipes for trying to take advantage of the funds made available, and obviously, here in Campania, especially in the South, we also have another opportunity that is provided by the PNRR but by the introduction of the Special Economic Zone; we cannot ignore that. There is an independent authority in those countries where SEZs have taken root, whereas here, several government commissioners for each SEZ set up have been introduced. However, the individual commissioners should work in synergy, bringing the management of the individual SEZs together to close the gap that currently separates us from other countries, not only Europe, bordering the Mediterranean Sea. We should take advantage of this barycentric situation of our Country, of our Region, in particular, located in the centre of the Mediterranean, to become a central and focal point. I can only imagine what could be done if we were able to connect our SEZ, all our SEZs, with those located in the area bordering the Mediterranean, if only we were willing to apply the Community principle of the Motorway of the Sea, which has been stated, declined but never objectively implemented. I believe much remains to be done, and let me just reflect on one fact: the reasons for this should be investigated, and I don’t believe they can always be attributed to a lack of courage by entrepreneurs from Campania or the South. I believe that the reasons should instead be found in a lack of protection for entrepreneurs who invest here, protection in the broadest sense, and a lack of basic infrastructure to support business development. I believe that to boost business development, it would be good to take advantage of the SEZ to attract foreign capital, but it would also be good to take advantage of the opportunity of the SEZ to help our companies through the creation of physical and intangible infrastructures, to increase their production and promote it abroad. The opportunity could be a decisive driver for the recovery of the South in particular, but of the Country system in general. I would like to stop here so as not to bore you with arguments that would be repetitive. Thank you.
PAOLA PORCELLI Director of the Eurispes office in Campania: I would like to thank Mr. Giosy Romano, President of Asi and member of the Eurispes Board of Directors, for his lucid analysis of the critical aspects of regulations and bureaucracy at this particular time. I will now hand over to Mr Vitale, President of Ance Campania for construction.
GENNARO VITALE, President of ANCE Campania: Good morning, everyone. I want to thank Eurispes and Paola Porcelli, Lawyer, for the invitation. It’s undoubtedly a fascinating debate, not least because for us builders, the word is something fundamental because our sector has been through thirteen years of crisis. We have lost 5,600 companies, 50% of investments in construction, and only 2020 has seen a -10% drop. However, there are also positive data because large Italian companies are always excellent at a global level. Just think that the leading construction company in Italy was awarded a design and construction contract worth $20 billion in Texas to build the high-speed railway during a pandemic. And this is certainly an important sign because companies are ready to do their part. Unfortunately, in Italy, we have the big problem of bureaucracy. If we don’t manage to implement actual simplification measures, logically in full compliance with the law, we will not be as productive as the rest of the world. It is clear that we are currently experiencing a slow recovery in Italy, which is mainly due to super bonuses, the famous credit transfers that have been activated by the Government, but which are too limited in duration to have a substantial impact on the economic sector. Unfortunately, we also need to focus on the problem of legality in the private construction and spatial planning sectors. A few years ago, Ance and all the universities in Campania carried out research and a census of all 550 municipalities in Campania. Only 71 municipalities had an approved Puc. The Puc is the municipal urban plan, which is the indispensable tool for territorial planning. Unfortunately, we face great difficulty in the Region, perhaps due to a problem of too much paperwork. If we do not manage to plan, there will be no development of the territory. The ANCE (Italian National Association of Builders and Contractors) immediately took a stand in favour of zero land consumption because priority must be given to urban quality and the quality of life of our citizens. Unfortunately, we are not succeeding. We commissioned a study by Cresme where, from 2013 to 2019 alone, Campania has lost 150,000 inhabitants, and the forecasts are even more dramatic. Because, from 2020 to 2040, a loss of another 640 thousand inhabitants is forecast. So it is really time to act because we absolutely must reverse this trend. Otherwise, our territory will become less and less attractive. Thank you.
PAOLA PORCELLI, Director of the Eurispes office in Campania: I would like to thank Mr Vitale and pass the floor to Mr Carlo Palmieri, Vice-President of Industrial Policy and Competitiveness of the Naples Industrial Union.
CARLO PALMIERI Vice-President of Industrial Policy and Competitiveness of the Naples Industrial Union: Thank you, Advocate. Good morning everyone, I have, of course, listened carefully to the previous speeches. I believe that the economic and social effect of this opportunity for recovery comes from the PNRR, and therefore from these funds that should be a basis for recovery, precisely for our companies and our territory, but mainly for our citizens. As Mr Vitale said earlier, we need to highlight the numbers to show what our territory is. We are not talking about the normal problem of differences between the South and the North. Forty per cent of the PNRR resources are supposed to be allocated to the South, which means that a greater percentage of these resources will be transferred to the North. At the beginning of our meeting, I heard Rector Canfora pointing out to his students that a study showed that one euro spent on infrastructure in the South brings a good share of the money back to the North, whereas the opposite is not the case. Therefore, the point should be addressed: are we sure that all these resources arriving in our territory are well spent and provide the right opportunities for revitalisation? Here’s a reference: in 1970, €677 per capita was spent on public works in the South, while €452 was spent in the Centre-North. The famous and infamous Cassa del Mezzogiorno. In 2018, 102 euros per capita were invested in public works in the South, compared to 278 euros in the Centre-North. This is because there is a belief, especially of recent governments, that the Country’s economic engine, which would have driven the peripheries, should be privileged. In actual fact, these are not the results. Because from 1999 to 2019, in an indication in the PNRR’s foreword, the President of the Council pointed out that Italy as a whole had grown by just 7.9% against increases in Germany, France and Spain of 30%, 32% and 43% respectively. This policy of the North driving force did not actually happen in the macroeconomic data. But I am not here to defend our territory. However, it is important to start from these premises to understand how this plan bases its assumptions on the possibility of filling this gap, which is now structural and a decade-old. The EU has identified it well, indicating that these structural funds must be added to and not a substitute for ordinary state intervention. This is something that should be emphasised in any forum because we cannot be penalised on this issue. I read that Eurispes itself, in August 2020, released a dossier, among other things on the fiscal front, in which it showed, figures being available, that citizens living in the South pay more taxes than citizens in the Centre-North. But this is due to a lack of transfers and resources to be used in our territory, and this only forces local authorities to increase the tax burden. In fact, in this negative ranking, Naples, Salerno and Reggio Calabria were the most heavily taxed cities in Italy. It is certainly not the scarcity of public resources that can deter organised crime. There is a need for clean, legal resources and public funds to support the legal economy and strengthen healthy businesses. I would say that the misguided narrative in which crime or corruption or favouritism is just a feature of our territory must also disappear. I hope that Eurispes, which has a national presence, can transfer this to other places in Italy to bring attention to this topic. Nevertheless, the problem of bureaucracy exists here: one of the structural reforms that must accompany the opportunity to benefit from European funds is precisely the bureaucratic one. Bureaucracy, which is a real burden, especially in our area, slows down the programme of interventions that should be carried out; indeed, we have a precise spending constraint, represented by 2026. This is an aspect that must be, at this stage, highlighted and tightened to the design of these funds, projects that the various local authorities are building right now. Therefore, it is necessary to do the opposite of what was done before, i.e. to maximise and streamline the procedures without, however, losing transparency, and without creating, therefore, a favourable condition for intervention by those involved in illegal activities. With this in mind, we must also raise the qualitative level of our administrators and the overall structure of the Public Administration. A reinforcement of the police force is also fundamental, both to implement control activities, which are even more necessary with the arrival of these funds, and to verify the appropriate management and allocation of this money. Confindustria has given structural help on the PNRR to the Government, precisely to highlight how to curb these problems. You are aware that we have structured legality protocols defined on a national and local scale and that we present these proposals on a widespread basis at the various institutional levels. Let me conclude by saying that speed and transparency, not unnecessary constraints, must be our mantra for development at this time. To this end, I propose an equation: speed of expenditure = development of a healthy economy. Controls must be carried out and tracked, and they must be carried out at the right time and in the correct manner concerning the expenditure. I greet you and thank you again for the invitation.
PAOLA PORCELLI, Director of the Eurispes office in Campania: I would like to thank Mr Palmieri, you mentioned a study by Eurispes dating back to July 2020 and entitled One Reggio is not worth the other. It’s a fascinating study in which data from the South were compared with those of the Centre-North. In fact, the research showed that a family in the municipality of Reggio Calabria certainly pays more taxes, understood as IRPEF, TASI, car tax, than those of a citizen of the Centre-North Reggio Calabria vs Reggio Emilia, to this alluded the title of the study Eurispes. The family of Reggio Calabria, despite the higher number of taxes, found itself able to benefit from services that were certainly inadequate compared to those available to the family of Reggio Emilia. I take the floor only to thank all the rapporteurs and remind you that the work will continue in the afternoon session with the Prosecutors of the Republic.
PAOLA PORCELLI, Director of the Eurispes office in Campania: In the morning session, we listened to the political, social and economic points of view of representatives from the world of business, the professions, academia and local administration. This afternoon’s session is dedicated to the Region’s public prosecutors who, based on their experience, can offer helpful indications and food for thought to make the community aware and anticipate society’s response to the risks of infiltration by organised crime. We have the honour and privilege of hosting the National Anti-Mafia and Anti-Terrorism Prosecutor, Federico Cafiero de Raho, for the opening of the meeting and the privilege of listening to the Councillors who have accepted the invitation. I pass the floor to the National Prosecutor.
FEDERICO CAFIERO DE RAHO, National Anti-Mafia and Anti-Terrorism Prosecutor: Thank you for the invitation. I consider the organisation of this conference of great importance. We are now facing a recovery and resilience plan that suggests extraordinary resources that will affect our Country in many ways. Among these, some seem to me to be specifically suited to Campania and in particular to the environment, cohesion and inclusion, and digitalisation sectors: many important fields that will also allow our Region, and many municipalities, to use these funds, at least within the scope of their planning capacities. These funds will, of course, allow us to use them, to benefit from them, and then to carry out the works, certainly the contracts – which are the moment of aggregation of economic actors in which, more and more, the representation of the Camorra, the Mafia, the ‘Ndrangheta, the criminal organisations is masked, which are nowadays more and more business mafias than mafias traditionally dedicated to criminal activities. The mafias have noted how useful and less risky it is to enter the economy, and therefore convert their wealth deriving from illicit traffic into the various sectors that are offered to private participation from time to time. I believe that in this, the very Procurators invited to speak have a great importance. Above all, in those territories where the camorristic presence is generally less visible, the risk is higher. What is important is to be able to find methods to monitor the territory, above all, from the point of view of reinvestment of the wealth. As National Anti-mafia Direction, we have selected certain aspects, such as that which concerns the company variations (i.e. the variations in the composition of the capital companies, where, more often than not, the notary intervention allows us monitoring). At the same time, however, there is now the problem of innovative start-ups, i.e. companies that are set up only electronically – fortunately, the Council of State’s judgment of March 2021 annulled the ministerial decree that would have allowed the scattering of companies to be set up only electronically, without the intervention of the notary, with the control of the registrar alone, which would naturally have made it possible for mafias to enter the market through economic entities set up only electronically, in respect of which no control would have been carried out. Let us hope that the legislator does not indulge in reproducing that secondary legislation that the Council of State annulled. However, the problem arises in connection with the possibility of setting up companies with as little as one euro and thus the plurality of economic activities that are disguised behind apparent capital. All this is part of the monitoring tasks that the Public Prosecutor’s Office must perform. In the same way, I believe that in the territories, the grafting of capital from uncertain origins should be particularly considered: in the cities, we notice the change of signboard of the same shops, and also that is a symptom which should be verified, not because every new activity is an expression of criminal infiltration, but more than anything else, because it is certain that in a moment of great economic suffering, opening new activities, above all, investing considerable sums of money, gives one pause for thought. I shall not dwell on what has happened, that is, the capacity to enter into existing economic activities while maintaining the appearance of management, i.e. to invest money in those economic activities which have traditionally operated and benefited from a long activity and which, perhaps, in a moment of suffering, need money and allow, This means investing money in those economic activities which have traditionally operated and benefited from a long period of activity and which, perhaps at a time of distress, need money and allow, by reaching a compromise with those who equivocally offer money on the market, to benefit from this money but at that point are gradually emptied of management, because at that point it is no longer the person who apparently owns the business which carries on that activity, but rather the person who has camouflaged himself as that person and entered the market, maintaining the appearance of the company or of the economic entity, even as an individual. In this direction, the institutional cooperation is particularly important, judicial offices with Prefectures, putting the activity of prevention with that of repression on a coordinated level. A great sharing is necessary to be also developed with the trade associations (I am thinking of Confcommercio, Confindustria, Confagricoltura, Coldiretti), which often succeed in monitoring the phenomenon and, therefore, also the camorristic infiltrations, sometimes making easy, with simple actions, which can be ascertained from the investigative point of view, moments of occupation by the Camorra of economic sectors. I believe that this, today, is our challenge as Magistrates, i.e. to be able to face the present situation of great suffering from the economic point of view, to be ready to look at the contracts, and therefore, at the possible infiltrations, to look at the infiltrations in the various sectors of the economy, and to monitor the changes and variations and, finally, to urge the inter-institutional cooperation also with the trade associations. I will stop here and give the floor to my colleagues.
PAOLA PORCELLI, Director of the Eurispes office in Campania: Thank you Procuratore for your report, which offers much food for thought that the Institute will take up. I will give the floor to Dr Domenico Airoma, Public Prosecutor of Avellino.
DOMENICO AIROMA, Avellino Public Prosecutor: Thank you and good evening to everyone. It is a pleasure to participate in this meeting and share some of my brief thoughts with such authoritative colleagues, whom I greet warmly. What we are living through is an exciting time. From an investigative point of view, it provides many stimuli. Certainly, someone could say that we are not yet before news of a crime, but there is a whole preliminary phase, that is, that of the search for news of a crime, in which the Public Prosecutor experiences his most exciting task, that of giving directives to the Investigative Police, therefore, that of posing the problem of not arriving late, when the damage is already done. It is a matter of prevention, of trying to understand the mechanisms through which crime is manufactured. In the title of this webinar, there is the term “mortgage”. A mortgage is something that in some ways refers to the past, to a past that continues in the present, conditioning it. It means, therefore, to pose the problem of how much of the criminal past a territory preserves and, therefore, can relive in the presence of certain occasions. This means posing the problem of how to investigate the context, make a composition of the place, and try to understand which subjects can have more interest in acting as users of certain disbursements or as stakeholders in specific economic-financial ambits. It is, therefore, necessary to understand which circuits are gearing up to intercept funding, which are the changes in activity codes that seem symptomatic of the preparation to receive funding, which are the new company structures, which are the legal entities that are appearing on the economic scene of a given territory without having significant roots in it. All this requires, above all, the activation of a specialised investigative group, as well as the systematic and coordinated collaboration of the Judicial Police Services, the Inland Revenue Agency and the Chamber of Commerce, to have information, as punctual, up-to-date and timely as possible, on what is moving in the economic-financial context, on which subjects could be of investigative interest and, in some way, to monitor their movements. There is, then, a significant profile of criticality related to the regulatory measures that accompany such an impressive plan of funding, and is that relating to the thinning of the phases of the procedure dedicated to control activities. The lack of the necessary preventive checks constitutes objective assistance for those who wish to enter illegally into specific circuits. However, this should not be the reason for abandoning all forms of attention, but rather for changing their methods and directing them more towards substance rather than form. In this context, it is essential to have as much information as possible. Another problem that afflicts the investigators, but not only them, is the circulation of information. It is necessary to create opportune circuits which allow those who conduct the investigations to be able to draw, in a timely fashion, on such important patrimonies of information and which, at the same time, also put the bodies of the Public Administration in a condition not to make undue disbursements or to benefit subjects traceable to criminal environments. Finally, I would not like us to underestimate the importance of the professionals, of the professional studios, because past experience tells us that it is, above all, in these areas that the operational foundations of the most sophisticated fraudulent mechanisms are laid, from how the applications are presented to how the corporate apparatus is structured. From the judicial point of view, the intervention of another entity such as the European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO) may represent a moment, I won’t say of difficulty, but indeed of complexity. It is a question of promptly addressing the question of how to structure, operationally, the relations between the national prosecution offices and the European Public Prosecutor’s Office, since the latter is interested, because of its mandate, in the protection of the financial interests of the Union. And it is a matter of issuing clear and uniform directives to the judicial police to avoid deadlocks in investigations. I am convinced, in conclusion, that this Plan of Recovery and Resilience can also be an opportunity for the entire Magistracy. In reality, we are all called upon, Public Prosecutors and Judges, to express, with humility and determination, a great effort for the benefit of the entire community; we are called upon to give life to a virtuous circuit of collaboration with the Judicial Police Services and with the other apparatuses of the Public Administration; we are called, in short, to recover a part of that credibility which, unfortunately, we have lost in recent times.
PAOLA PORCELLI, Director of the Eurispes office in Campania: Thank you for your intervention. The role of the European Public Prosecutor’s Office has yet to be defined, and we don’t know how it will operate in this area. We will see how it will actually interfere with the resources and investments coming from the Next Generation EU. I give the floor to Prosecutor Antonio Centore.
ANTONIO CENTORE, Nocera Inferiore Public Prosecutor: Thank you, I greet all my colleagues. I must say at the outset that I believe that on this occasion, the risk is for all of us to say more or less the same things. We are making predictions, and even if there had been an investigation already in progress for some of us, we would not have been able to talk about it. Therefore, we are speculating that we are worrying about something that hopefully will not happen, but it is fairly obvious what we are all going to say. We need to find tools, to strengthen the monitoring of the situation to anticipate the concrete entry into force of these provisions as soon as possible. We find ourselves in a predictable situation, the mafias have always sought legal investments, and we know that the economic availability of the Italian criminal organisations is boundless; it is a second Recovery Fund, perhaps even larger. A situation like the present one, I think, is comparable to that experienced in the post-war period with the Marshall Plan, the Recovery Fund seems to be a second Marshall Plan which will interest the appetites, above all, of those who have accumulated money while others suffered, a little like what happened, always in the post-war period, with the black market. Today we find ourselves in the situation where the mafias will be allowed to make massive investments more than they have already done in legal sectors, further perfecting the tools they have used up to now (that of inserting themselves in activities in difficulty through economic support and leaving entrepreneurs in their place, making them mere employees). In all of this, I fear deregulation, because the view is being promoted that money should be spent without worrying too much about it, and therefore rules become a hindrance. We clearly know that this is what criminal organisations are looking for, and I have to say that even when the rules are in place, they still manage to infiltrate. We have cleaning companies, security companies, even armed ones, and bars that companies with criminal organisations behind them run in our offices. If they have managed to infiltrate, with the fairly strict rules that everyone now complains are even castrating an entrepreneur who wants to compete in public tenders, and only after years has the criminal presence behind them come to light, it means that when these rules are also broken or relaxed, I cannot imagine and, indeed, I am alarmed at the idea of what might happen. All this is set in a context that can be defined as the anti-mafia crisis. How can we refuse to ask ourselves the problem that there is a sort of critical revision of a whole series of expedients, cautions, regulations of rigour which tried to face, to resolve the problem of the invasion of the presence of organised crime in the economic activities? Even facts that may appear symbolic, such as the questioning of the life sentence is a signal. What happened with the liberation, after 25 years of detention, of a collaborator of justice who had made possible the identification of those responsible for hundreds of bloody deeds, the unanimous reaction that there was, an implicit but also explicit criticism of the law on collaborators of justice, is another negative sign. There are reforms, but also jurisprudential orientations which seem to aim simply at weakening the response of the State with respect to the criminal organisation, and I refer to the “new” regulations in matters of interceptions, which certainly make the use of the instrument of telephonic and environmental interceptions more complicated and cumbersome. Of course, they have also introduced the use of the trojan, which is quite extensive, but this is the only positive aspect because, in reality, the activity is very complicated, and we do not know what effects these limits will have on the usability in court (many trials have been cancelled due to the unusability of the product). I am also thinking of confiscations, a subject I have dealt with passionately over the last 15 years and which are increasingly difficult to obtain; even if we see bombastic seizures in the press, the trial outcome is not always in that direction. In all this climate, to which is added the crisis of the Magistracy, which makes us even more disliked by the public opinion and makes us lose credibility, politics will reappropriate spaces and reduce the spaces of intervention of the Magistracy. What easier and more favourable situation could there be for organised crime to take advantage of these weaknesses? What is presented to us is an absolutely casual situation. However, there is such a convergence of aspects that are favourable to the massive entry of mafia capital into a weak economy like the one that is presented, because the Recovery Fund is all money that we will have to pay back, that it occurs to me that this could be an involuntary, implicit, but certainly felt invitation on the part of organised crime to invest also for capital of illicit provenance. I hope this is only a mischievous conjecture, but I am not the only one to say so. These fears should further strengthen our ability to react and organise ourselves to meet the challenge.
PAOLA PORCELLI, Director of the Eurispes office in Campania: You told me you were going to make a strong speech and you have kept your word. Thank you, and I will now hand it over to Prosecutor Nunzio Fragliasso.
NUNZIO FRAGLIASSO, Torre Annunziata Public Prosecutor’s Office: I renew my greetings to all the participants and thank you for the invitation. I, too, am quite worried, and I hope to be a bad saint. However, I see dangerous similarities with what happened in the aftermath of the 1980 earthquake. At that time, too, there was a catastrophic event that brought the economy of these territories to its knees, the disbursement of huge public funds (more than 20 thousand billion lire) and a weakening of the rules. We all know what followed, and some of us, such as the National Anti-Mafia and Anti-Terrorism Prosecutor, have experienced it firsthand. This cocktail of factors has led to the exponential growth of organised crime in Campania and beyond. Also, in this case, the same factors that characterised that season are looming on the horizon: we are in the presence of a pandemic event that is not yet over, and that has brought entire sectors of the economy to their knees; we are about to receive an enormous amount of public funding and a simplification of the procedures can be seen on the horizon and is desired by most, which is the antechamber to the weakening and tarnishing of the rules of control. These are all prerequisites for organised crime to become even more involved in the various productive and economic sectors of society and to try to intercept this enormous flow of money, entering, among other things, sectors such as catering, hotels and tourism, to name but a few of the most important in the economy of the Torre Annunziata area. And therefore, as the National Anti-mafia and Anti-terrorism Prosecutor also recalled, there is a real risk that organised crime, directly or through intermediaries, also availing itself of the complicity of professional experts in the matter of access to public contributions and financing, tries to intercept one or the other, inserting itself in the company structures with forms of financial support or taking over all or part of the ownership, there is also a substantial risk that, as is already happening, organised crime may enter the public administration and local authorities to channel, steer and direct public procurement contracts that benefit from these funds. So, if this is the risk, what are the possible tools to combat it? One thing must be clear: repressive action by the State is not enough. It is not possible to prevent, disrupt and stem this phenomenon by resorting only to the repressive instrument of the Judiciary and the Police Forces. Instead, a synergic and choral approach of all the Public Institutions (in addition to the already mentioned ones, the Local Authorities and the Municipal Administrations) and of the private ones is necessary. As the National Anti-Mafia and Anti-Terrorism Prosecutor recalled, also the trade associations, the entrepreneurial associations, the professional Associations, the Credit Institutions, with which it is necessary to network and which should be the first, precisely because they have their finger on the pulse of the territory, to intercept, isolate and marginalise attempts of infiltration by organised crime. I think that a more capillary economic control of the territory should be carried out, how? By enhancing, for example, the reports of suspicious transactions, which are often a sign of attempts by criminal groups to gain undue access to flows of money of public origin. One figure seems significant to me: in 2020, in the period 1st March to 15th October, there was an increase on a national scale of 8% of the reports of suspicious operations and in the region – in Campania – an increase of 16.3% of such reports. Turning to more recent times, in the period from March to February 2021, in the last year, in the Torre Annunziata district alone, there has been a 22% increase in reports of suspicious transactions, mostly relating to financial abuse, misuse of public funds, improper or abnormal use of cash, reports of companies in economic crisis and at risk of criminal infiltration. It is necessary to invest in suspicious transaction reports and enhance their value by carrying out in-depth investigations that can lead to more direct investigative developments. Greater attention must be paid to the analysis of the acts of registration relative to patrimonial transfers, which can also be symptomatic indicators of transfers of property to groups that are the expression of organised crime. More emphasis should be placed on the analysis of the dynamics of bankruptcies. Attention must be paid and not limited to recording the phenomenon. I think that this is the only way to intervene effectively, proceeding in an attempt to intercept, if not early, then promptly, the attempts by organised crime to intercept this flow of money. Of course, as was mentioned earlier, it is necessary to involve a general mobilisation, all the different actors at various levels, in a synergic action that will prevent an approach, by groups expressing organised crime, to this huge flow of money. In the background – and I realise that this is wishful thinking – we need a profound cultural renewal that puts the spotlight on respect for rules and values, the lack of which is the breeding ground for organised crime and the consent of criminal organisations. That concludes my speech and I thank you for your attention.
PAOLA PORCELLI, Director of the Eurispes office in Campania: Prosecutor, thank you and let’s pass the floor to Prosecutor Policastro, Public Prosecutor of Benevento.
ALDO POLICASTRO, Public Prosecutor of Benevento: Thank you, I would also like to greet all my colleagues, Eurispes and Mr Porcelli, for this important occasion. Some things have already been said. I think that what Nunzio (Fragliasso, ed.) said is absolutely true, namely that we are in a situation similar to the one after the earthquake. What does it mean to manage huge flows of money such as those in Europe? As Prosecutors, we have to reflect on a reality with a strong camorristic permeability. First, we must identify the danger of camorristic infiltration because it is concrete, current and powerful, but it is indispensable to read the legal economy. Let me explain better: would such an ample economic capacity have been possible if there had not been a legal economy – or what we call legal – all aimed at identifying the mechanisms to evade taxes? Or the mechanisms to acquire orders and contracts? That is, the corruptive ones? Or those of conflict of interest? I think not. There is no clear separation between the mafia economy and the legal economy. The two economies sometimes coexist; on the contrary, one feeds on the other. In this context, when I am told that it is necessary to be aware that the battle of the correct spending of public money passes through our repressive action – and therefore, subsequent – but it passes even more through an activity of prevention that anticipates deviations. And this must be based on economic actors rediscovering the importance of the public good. Now, do our society, the professional associations, the business community, the public administration, and the judiciary have the moral tension to consider the public good primary? Or is a revolution really needed to put at the centre the honour and discipline to which we and public administrators are bound, and more generally the whole of society, including business, which will play a huge role in this affair. The two players will be the public administration and big business, not the small businessman or the small technician. It is great corruption that has cracked the democratic fabric of the Country. Is big business ready for this challenge today? Article 22 of the Recovery Fund regulation identifies the danger in three aspects. The money will only be disbursed if we demonstrate that we have put in place all the control systems to prevent conflicts of interest, fraud and corruption. This is not an assessment. It is Article 22 of the regulation which says that “the control systems in place shall provide the necessary guarantees to establish that the funds have been managed following all the applicable rules, in particular those concerning the prevention of conflict of interest, fraud and corruption. That these can be effective and efficient”. So are we in Italy, from an organisational and regulatory point of view, ready to face… are we ready to prove to the EU that we have done everything necessary to ensure against conflict of interest, fraud, corruption? When the public debate is focusing – it may seem unrelated, but we have to make an effort – it is focusing on what? Someone said that we have to trim the nails of the prosecutors – I have heard speeches of this kind – that they are not limited. Look, if you go and see the press review of the SCM you will find an enormous amount of reflections and in-depth studies, some well-founded, others less so, in which there is clearly a, how should I say, a strong reflection on what? On the investigative activity. Now, the democratic structure of our Country, and of all the other Countries, sees in the judicial power, the power of control of the correct application of the regulations, irrespective of the dependence or independence, on the investigating judicial authority and on the judicial police. If the political-cultural objective is that of “cutting nails”, it is one thing; if the political-cultural objective is that of setting up, as the regulation says, structures that guarantee against conflicts of interest, fraud and corruption, then it is another matter. And so, let us go and see what the Prosecutor’s Offices can do in this framework. In my opinion, it is absolutely indispensable that there be this choral action; at one time, it was said that there was a need for the great trade union organisations and mass movements which supervised the correct exercise of democracy and, therefore, also in these cases. Today, all of this is in crisis, but it is clear that it is necessary and indispensable that there be a great movement of what are called the good lobbies, those who are moving to verify in this phase, in these six years, whether public money will be used according to those lenses that the EU has told us to keep, those of cohesion and inclusion, or those of squandering. So, welcome initiatives such as the one inaugurated a few days ago – Libenter – carried out by Libera, the Catholic University and others; welcome initiatives such as those of Eurispes, which I hope will give rise to something structured and lasting over time; welcome many other actions through the professional and trade associations that will ensure that this happens. I hope it will give rise to something structured and lasting; I welcome many other actions through professional and trade associations to ensure that this happens. The latest ISTAT study shows that there are 5.6 million people in absolute poverty in Italy. This means that the social fabric is absolutely weak and prey to possible robberies because of rapacious entrepreneurs. I am not just talking about mafias but also non-mafias. However, rapacious entrepreneurs, clearly aim to pay little and exploit cheap labour, with little safety on work sites (this is a fact on which we must pay great attention) because this mass of work sites that will open up in all territories risk being managed in practice, not by the large companies that have acquired the orders, acting as intermediaries and, how can I say, parasitic, but by subcontracting. If there is deregulation, as seems to be the case, there will be enormous problems on construction sites and workplace safety, with huge repercussions in terms of health protection. So this is a step that needs attention, and in my opinion, it is essential. I will not dwell on the clear opposition to any deregulation, because in my view, the right medium, that of controls and rules, cannot be eliminated. Deregulation is a festival for the corrupt and the mafias. If the tam-tam is to spend the money, but you don’t add spending well, it means that we will find ourselves in exactly the same condition as the South found itself in after the earthquake. What should we do in my opinion? What are the preventive activities? I think we need prevention and collaborative vigilance. This is necessary between the institutions and between the institutions and society. At the national level, it is appropriate to see ANAC as the most important body that carries out this collaborative supervision at the administrative and Authority level, because the earthquake has also shown us another aspect on which we must be very careful. We all remember that at the time there were, as it were, inspection commissions in which magistrates took part. Our mission is that of judicial control in criminal proceedings. Can we be involved in administrative management? I think not. Therefore, I am against any instrument that involves magistrates in administration. We have an Authority, the Anac, which has gained authority and importance in the field. This is the independent authority that can play a collaborative role and has given good evidence in the Expo affair, where collaborative supervision has worked. And Anac also has the technical expertise to assess a number of aspects. And this is another chapter. But we have the possibility, and I am facilitating this in my area, of collaborating with other public institutions through official channels such as the Committee for Public Safety, inviting representatives of the workers’ categories and identifying the problems to be addressed. The second issue is suspicious transactions. In my office, I have regulated the use of suspicious operations in order to enhance their scope. The increase of suspicious operations is a symptom of a ‘hyper-excitement’ of capital. In Benevento, I have signed a protocol with the GdF and the Inland Revenue which allows us to identify the big tax evaders, companies in difficulty, bankruptcies and arrangements. The latter is unexplored territory throughout the Country. The other aspect that I think should be taken into account is the need to set up working groups within the Gdf immediately, the Carabinieri and the State Police on the construction sites that are opened: to defend the rights of the workers within the construction sites and the companies themselves from infiltration and money laundering. This, of course, in agreement with the District Anti-Mafia Directorate and with the National Anti-Mafia Directorate in the event that events of a certain type emerge. Last thing linked to prevention. The Public Administration is fundamental. The optics of the Pa and of the public employees must change; I would like a PA of quality in terms of competence and structures. To have quality professionals, however, you have to pay them. It is not possible to have a public administration capable of controlling tenders if we rely on the public administration as we have it today. We need to hire economists, architects, engineers and accountants, but young, capable and competent ones who are paid. We who do this job know this very well; if we hire technical consultants who earn little, we will have little. Hiring quality staff is what the public administration must do, and this is the activity that, from a preventive point of view, guarantees against conflicts of interest, fraud and corruption. Thank you all, and sorry for taking a few minutes.
PAOLA PORCELLI, Director of the Eurispes office in Campania: Thank you, Prosecutor for your heartfelt report, and I will now hand it over to Prosecutor Antonio Ricci, Prosecutor ofVallo della Lucania.
ANTONIO RICCI, Public Prosecutor of Vallo della Lucania: Thank you for the invitation. I would like to greet my colleagues and Prosecutor Cafiero. I would like to present the situation of the Vallo della Lucania district, which is a small district in the south of the province of Salerno that, alas, suffers from serious problems in terms of the presence, numerically and qualitatively adequate, of specialised Judicial Police personnel. I start immediately with this statement, perhaps a little strong, but I must point out what is a problematic situation. Since I have been here, we have asked several times, also through the General Prosecutor’s Office of Salerno and also through the Prefecture, that the presence of Police forces in the territory be adequately strengthened. If you think that the last police station of reference is in Battipaglia… we are about 100 kilometres away from Salerno, you can understand that what needs to be done in this area is, first of all, to adapt the police forces to the need for preventive and subsequent control, a need that certainly requires greater specialisation. We need to be able to count on the Police Force, but I think, given the subject we are dealing with, above all on the Guardia di Finanza, which should have a specific competence. Perhaps this subject could be overcome with the possibility of entrusting the District Gico with a sectorial competence for the controls to be carried out on the Recovery Fund, and obviously, when it is held that the facts are relevant and, therefore, there is the necessity to study these matters in depth, I give some numbers to understand the phenomenon a little: when, in a previous speech, reference was made to what happened following the spread of the Coronavirus, which had a very significant impact on the economic system, reference was made to some economic sectors that were particularly damaged by the social distancing measures and reference was made to sectors such as catering, hotel reception and tourism supply, which are the main economic sources of this district. Cilento bases a large part of its income-generating potential on these sectors. This is, at present, the most obvious consequence of the damage caused by social distancing and the conditions in which we have lived until now. The game, needless to say, is played on controls and, above all, on timeliness because the timeframe is rather tight, and controls are long and cumbersome. We must bear in mind that the lack of controls inevitably leads to disaster and squandering, especially in smaller realities such as those of local municipalities. In these realities, there are no adequate structures and personnel to withstand the impact originating from more or less organised crime; there is a rather low level of physiological resistance that we have seen in recent years. Very few of the 51 municipalities in the district are immune from the investigations carried out and the opening of files on offences against the public administration. The peripherality of the Cilento area with respect to the centre and to the capital of the Region, evidently, still penalises the territory; not only because of the scarce resistance of the local Administrations which has just been mentioned, but also because there is a very limited number of equipped and specialised Judicial Police operators, spread in this specific area. Perhaps it would be opportune – and I address this directly to the National Prosecutor – to stipulate protocols of agreement ad hoc between the District and District Prosecutors’ Offices on the subjects relative to the controls and investigations to be made to prevent and avoid the proliferation and diffusion of criminal activities in the economic-financial field. We must extend, in some way, the capacity of control and penetration of the forces at the disposal of the District Attorney’s Offices also to the more peripheral territories. Also, we (Public Prosecutor’s Office of Vallo della Lucania) have recently stipulated a protocol of understanding with the Guardia di Finanza and the Inland Revenue Agency, and I believe that, at a regional level, this Protocol has spread. I have some perplexity with regard to the creation of the information network that must be formed to deal with these phenomena, which I imagine – given the amount of funds allocated to Italy – will be truly significant, if the funds allocated to preventive controls are not increased. I agree with the perplexities expressed by my colleague Airoma regarding the Eppo: I note, at least from my point of view, how the Eppo District Prosecutor’s Office is, at present, inadequately calibrated. Although the colleagues identified to cover this role are experts in the subjects they will have to deal with, they appear to be too few in number compared to the criminal phenomena already identified and which should be submitted to their attention. Therefore, I believe that the identification of colleagues and personnel who will work in the Neapolitan office of reference must be adequate to the volume of the hypothetical – which are not so hypothetical – numerous phenomena that could occur. Furthermore, I have my doubts about whether the trade associations can influence the controls to be carried out upstream; I believe that, at least on this front, there is still some way to go. Of course, the considerations I have put forward are related to local situations, but I think they also concern other parts of Campania that I know.
PAOLA PORCELLI, Director of the Eurispes office in Campania: Thank you, Prosecutor, and I will hand over to Laura Triassi, Public Prosecutor’s Office in Nola.
LAURA TRIASSI, Public Prosecutor of Nola: I’ve been away from the Naples district for about ten years and, for me, coming back was an opportunity for renewed enthusiasm because the very district of the Public Prosecutor’s Office of Nola – an integral part of the Naples district – represents a portion of territory which, in my opinion, constitutes an important sample to verify the characteristics of a tormented area on which the pandemic was then grafted with all the devastating consequences that it brought. Added to this picture are now the doubts linked to the massive arrival of funding and money. The Nola area is a nerve centre for the local and regional economy; it is equipped with an articulated system of connecting infrastructures (from the motorway junction to the Nola Interporto station and so on) and has, thanks also to its proximity to the Nocerino-Sarnese agri-foodstuffs district and the San Gennaro Vesuviano textile district, a logistics system that easily allows commercial traffic both for Italy and abroad. Thousands of VAT numbers are registered in this area and the leading sector has historically been textiles. But I am describing an area that has been severely degraded: street murders for trivial reasons, drug trafficking – the news is full of these episodes -, but above all, bankruptcy crimes, whose investigations have revealed a fraudulent mechanism that debilitates the market and causes considerable damage to the economic fabric of the area. The fertile ground on which the pandemic crisis is grafted is made up of: tax offences, so-called ‘carousel’ tax frauds carried out through sophisticated accounting techniques, loans at usurious rates – so widespread as to be a parallel alternative system to banking institutions -, environmental pollution, but above all public administration offences. Corruption is now an almost total phenomenon, more than rampant: municipal administrations, competitive procedures and a wide range of criminal offences involving public officials, local administrations, private citizens, professionals and enterprises. This partly pessimistic introductory parenthesis is necessary to verify the issues addressed today, namely the health emergency. As attested by the investigations carried out, the blockade of commercial activities has revealed a vast undeclared work situation that affects the entire area, characterised by the presence of small and medium-sized enterprises. In fact, it was found that several commercial activities have not reopened after the lockdown, feeding the increase of an already vast pool of users seeking employment, which represents a very dangerous breeding ground for crime. Since the beginning of the epidemiological emergency, we have also carried out activities to monitor the textile industry, which is a characteristic feature of the area. These activities have confirmed that some factories have converted their production lines to obtain personal protective equipment: of these, some comply with the regulations, while others have non-standard equipment or counterfeit items. Therefore, alongside a legal conversion, which was accepted and simplified by the central government, there was a sudden conversion of production to counterfeit brands (bags, clothing, accessories, masks, protective suits). In our area, but I believe this is very common, an accentuation in the counterfeiting sector has been noted, precisely as a post-pandemic development. In the second half of last year, the already widespread phenomenon of counterfeiting underwent, thanks to the health emergency, a reconversion that allowed this illicit segment to adapt to the new market requirements. These counterfeit businesses have been identified, including clandestine print shops equipped with high-performance structures and machinery for producing and packaging masks. I would like to point out that these activities, even when of negligible importance, exploiting illegal labour, generated an indefinable quantity of unauthorised, counterfeit products, useful to supply the parallel counterfeit market and also to produce a significant amount of waste that was disposed of illegally. We have found other characteristics in the area, and that have been confirmed by the results of investigations carried out with other public prosecutors in the same district. Following the regulatory measures aimed at stemming the spread of the virus on the national territory and also at containing the negative repercussions on the economic fabric of the Country, measures have been put in place to control the flow of capital, focusing attention on sectors that were vulnerable, such as, for example, public spending, with particular regard to the forms of assistance generated. For example, through the use of databases and information acquired by the investigators, it was found that these taxpayers who illegally received the contributions provided by the decree relaunch, the support decree, the beneficiaries of bank loans assisted by state guarantees: through the reporting of suspicious transactions were intercepted these offences. This has made it possible to find out that, in certain situations, the above-mentioned funds have been used for purposes unrelated to the enterprise, as for example in the case of the manager of a clothing company who used the fund to purchase a boat. Not to mention all the undue access to Citizenship Income, which was in many cases granted to those who did not meet the necessary requirements, but also to those who had been convicted of mafia association, thus resulting from a lack of adequate and timely controls. We have, in fact, seized the sums illegally received. Therefore, the enormous amount of money that will arrive is grafted onto an area that shows very complex realities such as these. Frankly, I share the pessimism clearly expressed by my colleague Fragliasso, because the Judicial Authority has now become the only one, in my opinion, that intervenes after the fact. I do not believe that, at present, the control system is working in a high profile, and I do not believe that it is being accentuated, given the tendency to relax the process and procedures for public procurement. I personally hope for an increase in the reporting of suspicious operations, and I would like to point out, above all to the National Anti-Mafia Prosecutor, the difficulty I have found in reading these data. We should increase the attention and the readability of the reports and, above all, monitor – and in this the professionalism of the Guardia di Finanza is fundamental – the public contracts and, in particular, the participating companies, also through the identification of the owners to reduce the phenomenon of frontmen. It is necessary to increase the preventive controls and the subsequent repressive ones on the acquisition of the economic resources bestowed at the State level in favour of the economic operators and also of those economic activities that are changing production according to commercial needs. I agree with everything that has been said about the interpretation and mechanisms to combat mafia infiltration, and I believe that the increase in unemployment will make it much more complicated to return to or, at any rate, improve the current level of legality.
PAOLA PORCELLI, Director of the Eurispes office in Campania: Prosecutor, we would like to thank you for your speech. We will now pass the floor to Dr Maria Teresa Troncone, Public Prosecutor of Santa Maria Capua Vetere.
MARIA ANTONIETTA TRONCONE, Public Prosecutor of Santa Maria Capua Vetere: I thank you for the invitation and greet all my colleagues. Today we are faced with an important opportunity for economic growth arising from the disbursement of the funds that have been widely discussed. It is a fundamental opportunity for the South, which must be properly managed, and it is, therefore, essential to understand the fabric of this opportunity. Undoubtedly, we are still operating in contexts of solid invasiveness of the criminal organisations, and the high monetary liquidity is such as to allow an overrun of the illegal economy; we are also witnessing not total independence of the sectors of the Administration, which are certainly conditioned in various ways by the criminal organisations. Therefore, a situation of opacity, I would even say of union, between the legal and illegal economy, which creates the conditions for a wrong use of the funds that will come to us. To this must be added the tendency towards illegality in the activities of businesses, with a lack of respect for and impatience with the rules, since it is not possible to assess the benefits of proper entrepreneurial activity. All this leads to a concentration of wealth in the hands of a few, to ever-increasing social inequalities, and to an opacity that makes even controlling activities difficult. Furthermore, there is a constant inattention to the fight against the mafia: in the governmental programmes, or on the occasion of the various electoral consultations, one perceives a scarce interest in this aspect, as if it were something not to be underlined, to be censured as if this reality did not exist, and as on this reality it was good, in some way, to overlook or, better, to place the attention only on the aspect of the military contrast, without focusing attention on the union between mafia and politics, or between mafia and economy. The signs of a lack of interest in the rules are clear, as is the weakening of the anti-mafia institutes themselves, the rewriting of the crime of abuse of office and, in general, the tendency to streamline the entrepreneurial activity, stigmatising the so-called bureaucratisation as if it were something negative, not appreciating, instead, the correct value inherent in the observance of the rules. We should not forget that we live in an environment where corruption is widespread. We have a very respectable regulatory system, we have rules that allow the attack on corruption from a personal point of view as well as from a real point of view with assets instruments to fight it; we have the possibility to apply extended confiscations to entire assets. However, we magistrates come up against a difficulty in the emergence of the corruptive phenomena, which derives from the necessity of breaking that code of silence and opacity of which I was speaking. Therefore, the exclusive action of the Magistracy and the Judicial Police is not sufficient: the entire system of prevention must be enhanced. In this sense, I refer to those who mentioned the ANAC, which must have a role of primary importance because it is the ANAC that is deputed to the administrative control, not the magistrates ex post. Also: the role of the Prefectures, which follow the controls in the issuance of the anti-mafia information and which operate the control, also through the Police Forces, of the cases of fictitious interposition; I also believe in the helpful comparison with the professional associations. In this office, at the Public Prosecutor’s Office of Santa Maria Capua Vetere, during the pandemic period, we have signed a protocol with the Chamber of Commerce and the Guardia di Finanza (Customs and Excise), aimed at detecting cases of company changes such as to arouse interest in phenomena of illicit acquisitions, possibly also consequent to usury activities. Therefore, it is necessary to strengthen these institutions and provide adequate information based on appropriate guidelines to combat these phenomena. All this is combined with efficient and effective law enforcement, which can have positive results only to the extent that there is a synergy with all the other institutions and, above all, that there is the possibility of surfacing crime reports, a difficulty with which we are confronted on a daily basis. I believe in strengthening the entire network, focusing on what is happening and in the conviction of the sure interest of criminal organisations and the entrepreneurs who act, unregulated, in this particular historical period.
PAOLA PORCELLI, Director of the Eurispes office in Campania: Thank you Procuratore. I would like to pass the floor to Gen. Preziosa, President of the Security Observatory of Eurispes, for a brief greeting and some final considerations.
PASQUALE PREZIOSA, President of the Eurispes Observatory on Security: I would like to thank the National Anti-Mafia Prosecutor, Dr Federico Cafiero De Raho, who was very keen on this meeting in order to define the topics that will soon be of interest to our Country for the necessary development of the projects identified in the national PNRR. The activity of the Anti-Mafia Prosecutor’s Offices will be of vital importance for the successful development of the projects linked to the national PNRR, not only for the repressive activity, but above all for the preventive one, which has the characteristics of deterrence; this will lower the risk index for the finalisation of the projects in the six years foreseen by the Recovery Fund. The national PNRR represents the strategic tool for the restart of our Country, now in a growth crisis, whose completion within the timeframe identified by Europe will allow both the development of the Country in “recession” due to the ongoing pandemic and the sustainability of the public debt now close to 160% of GDP. The amount of European funding coming in for over €200 billion represents a huge opportunity for mafia criminals, who are traditionally dedicated to the illegal appropriation of public financial resources. Mafia crime has negative effects in the Country on at least two fronts: the economic and the democratic institutional one, and its activity must be both prevented and strongly opposed. Unfortunately, the social fabric afflicted by the pandemic appears even weaker and therefore more permeable to criminal activities, with a weak will to fight the phenomenon. Even Europe has introduced good initiatives to combat criminal activities, such as the European Money Laundering Control Agency, which even has supervisory powers over the institutions of the European Union. In fact, Europe has not yet taken the opportunity to make the definition of mafia association common and to develop, again at the Community level, common anti-money laundering legislation to stem the expansion of mafias in Europe, which would be a genuine sign of ethical, regulatory and European-style consistency. The situation created by mafia crime in many European countries is serious and calls for serious reflection: we are no longer faced with a problem of public order or even economic order since the asset under threat is democracy itself, i.e. the freedom of individuals. The Italian National Anti-Mafia Prosecutor’s Office and all the district offices are preparing the tools to counteract the incoming European funding. However, the support of every single citizen will also be needed to lower the risks of criminal infiltration in the public administration. We must all unite to ensure the prosperity and legality of our Country.
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