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Draghi’s purge of the Italian state has its limits

It didn’t take long for Mimmo Parisi to have to eat his words.

The president of the Italian Labor Policy Agency, who is being investigated by auditors for spending 160,000 euros on a first-class round trip from Rome to the United States, where he legally resides, said he was losing his government job. “Domestic gossip” rejected the report earlier this month.

But the next day, the Italian Minister of Labor announced that a demographer and professor of statistics at Mississippi State University would lose his job in the Italian state.

Parisi is just the latest prime minister, as Prime Minister Mario Draghi is aiming to reform state-owned enterprises and other institutions before the € 220 billion EU fund begins to flow in and structural reforms are passed. Without such reforms, much of that money is at risk of being wasted, analysts warn.

“What’s at stake … is the future of the country,” said Maurizia Iachino, a corporate governance consultant. Draghi’s career change to introduce more professional appointments “is after consulting with people he trusts, and they are primarily related to his past experience as a civil servant,” she said. Added.

So far, during his first three-month term, Draghi, a former Treasury Director and head of the Bank of Italy, became the country’s Covid Commissioner, the Director of the Civil Protection Agency, and the Director of Secret Services in Italy. Replaced.That job is First woman Lead the station.

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

The cleanup from state posts is part of the Draghi government’s general efforts to depoliticize bureaucracy in a wide range of manual labor on state inefficiencies and poor management.

Mimmo Parisi has lost his job as president of the Italian Labor Policy Agency © Massimo Di Vita / Mondadori via Getty Images

Swaths of other changes are expected soon. According to the company, in the coming months, 74 board terms will expire in 90 publicly supported companies. Consultant company CoMar.. Fifteen of them generate a total revenue of over € 70 billion and are managed directly by the Treasury.

The change is proof that Draghi trusts him as the former governor of the European Central Bank. Nicola Pasini, a professor of political science at the University of Milan, said this gave him “autonomy” from normal politics with such an appointment.

“He can focus on abilities and professional qualities, not political parties,” he said.

It is the kind of change that Italy needs chronically. Giuliano Amato, who led Italy’s privatization efforts as prime minister in the early 1990s, recently called on the country to end the political “pollution” of businesses by purifying the state administration.

“Publicly supported companies will eventually fall into the hands of political parties. [and their demands] It changes their function, “Amato told Italian every day. La Repubblica.

The first state-owned enterprises that may change soon this month are the state-owned investment bank Cassa Depositi e Prestiti and the state-owned railway Ferroviedello Stato, both of which will be major beneficiaries of EU funding. is.

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

This problem is especially noticeable for railroad operators who have been confused by the survey. insurance And It The contract it took. The group also participated in the rescue failure of state-owned airline Alitalia, whose board recently approved a series of generous performance bonuses. In 2020, it posted a net loss of € 562 million and received € 1.1 billion in Covid-related subsidies.

Still, according to analysts and investors, it will take much more time for Draghi to change a few senior appointments and change Italy’s deeply rooted political and corporate dynamics in a meaningful way. ..

“Draghi … I was appointed with a very specific mission [linked to Italy’s…

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