Italy is living a magical moment. A chorus of cheers rises from factories in Europe’s second-largest industrial goods manufacturing country. Many companies are celebrating a “phenomenal recovery”, “unique opportunities” and “unanticipated growth drivers”. Note: this is more than just a recovery from last year’s crash, when economic strength collapsed by 8.9%. The industry confidence index reached 116.3 points, its highest level since its introduction in March 2005.
The extraordinary good humor results from a constellation of dreams. Italy, the eternal bottom of the league in Europe, has advanced to become the economic engine of the continent. Mario Draghi is stationed in Rome. Its stable government is working on a huge amount of work. The Roman Ministry of Finance was able to collect the first tranche of the 191 billion euros from the European development fund on Friday morning. And the Italian Olympic team returned from Tokyo to the land of European football champions with a record 40 medals. The nation, which some have already written off, destroys many clichés. Economy, politics, sport, the country in crisis suddenly attracts admiring glances. Italy. A summer fairy tale.
Italians are always astonished at their much-regretted lightness. The exhausted, desperate and angry country seems to have regained confidence. It is in Europe that it grows most vigorously and gives the most success. In track and field, he provides the fastest sprinter, the fastest 4x100m relay, the best high jumper and the fastest walker. The Olympic successes have upset the nation’s self-image. “We are no longer those who lack team spirit and are disorganized,” reports the daily Corriere della Sera. Italian sport has changed because the country has changed and adapted to the modern world. In any case, the summer gave Italy an “aha” experience: Look, with commitment and competence, a new ascent is possible.
The economy is also in great shape. In the second quarter, it increased surprisingly strongly by 2.7%. This means that Italy can be sure of annual growth of at least 4.8% after the first six months – the best starting point in the EU. An increase of almost 6% is within reach in 2021. More importantly, the researchers assume a lasting trend. With a growth forecast of 4.4% for the coming year, Italy ranks fifth among the G-20 countries and second among the G-7 countries. A feeling. In the decade preceding the outbreak of the pandemic, the economy grew on average 0.4%.
The confidence of entrepreneurs rests on one person: Mario Draghi
Now entrepreneurs feel the chance for a fresh start. Your confidence is fundamental to the hard reset. Only: it is not an infallible success. It must be supported at all times. And that’s a tricky point, because until now, trust has been based on one person: “Super Mario” Draghi.
The former boss of the ECB amazes with a formidable political instinct. It nails the parties to reality and makes pragmatics the measure of all government action. He led Italy on a new path. At the end of its first six months in office, the government implemented the digital vaccination record and a pioneering judicial reform.
But the reform marathon has only just begun. After the short summer break, a complex tax reform and a controversial competition reform are underway. An investment plan with 256 expenditure chapters and 526 objectives is available in Rome, which must be successively completed by June 30, 2026 in order to receive the billions from the EU. This means: after the brilliant solo performance that Draghi achieved with a handful of devotees, a new phase begins. Italy’s renaissance cannot be consolidated on its own. A new spirit must take hold in tens of thousands of offices. Bottlenecks in economic development must be removed across the country. The destination is far away, but Italy has never been on a better way to get there.
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