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Politics: Italy’s leading industry?

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Addressing the annual assembly of Confindustria in Rome, its President Luca Cordero di Montezemolo drew a rather grim picture of Italy's political class. In what seemed like an outright manifesto which could represent Montezemolo's first step into the political fray, Confindustria's chairman denounced "the self-referential nature of political power, which smothers any impulse toward reform within both the right and the left" and the "proliferating costs of political power", generated by the politicians' endless "floating on the water and waiting for the next election".

In the presence of fourteen ministers, various leaders of the majority, the opposition and trade unions, and 3,000 top business leaders, he further pointed out that politics "cannot be Italy's leading industry with 180,000 elected representatives, more than France, the United Kingdom and Spain put together, for a total expense of four billion euros", and asked himself how many nursery schools we could build with the salaries of 18,000 members of public body and company boards. Italy,  Montezemolo argued, is tired of all this, its people "is better than some politicians think it is", and its s ociety demands projects and understands the need to take brave decision, whose effects may not be visible in the short term, but which will set apart those who "have a real sense of State". Going on with a "private use of public resources", he warned, brings closer the risk to become "a do-it-yourself country where people prefer an absent central government to an active one".

We need a politics – he concluded - that is strong on ideas and able to propose solutions and scenarios". A leadership "that can start again talking about duties and responsibilities. A country that can rediscover its identity in a shared sense of mission. Montezemolo has later denied his imminent entrance in the political ring. Part of the Italian press has interpreted his speech as an attempt to cover, with a political manifesto, his less than brilliant results as president of Confindustria. However, il Corriere della Sera has repeatedly sponsored his political involvement, suggesting he could be thinking about taking this step soon enough.

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