Sorrento, 6th July 2012
Intervention of the President
today we are living one of the most critical moments that history has ever known.
The international crisis which has invested Europe, still has its effects on the whole economic system, affecting the social, political and institutional tissue, generating deep doubts and increasing worries.
However, we open this second Meeting relating European “Mezzogiorno” Areas and Mediterranean Areas with feelings of hope and great expectations.
At the end of the first edition of the Meeting last year we identified the thematic core of this new edition: young people, in the belief that it is necessary to invest more in youth, in order to preserve the great human capital that they represent.
The current crisis is having heavy consequences on whole generations of young people who risk sacrificing themselves and their future. The objective today is then to start a constructive debate aimed at making it possible that “Mezzogiorno” Areas and the whole Mediterranean Area, through young people, achieve a common will of abolishing the obstacles that hinder development. With these feelings we positively receive the continuous exhortations of the President of the Republic Giorgio Napolitano to whom we wish to express our thanks for conferring our Meeting his acknowledgment once again.
This acknowledgement makes me, the Regional Observatory Banks-Enterprises of Economy and Finance and all the institutions and organizations involved very proud and gratified of the efforts made in order to continue the promising pathway started last year with the aim to make this Meeting an annual event, in the hope to assume a specific and innovative role in the context of the wide offer of national and international initiatives focused on the development problems in European “Mezzogiorno” Area and in the Mediterranean Area.
Special thanks go to all the representatives of the national and international institutions intervened, to all those people who have shown their interest in this initiative, to the eight regions of Italian “Mezzogiorno” and to the main Southern Italy’s Universities who support us. Moreover, I wish to sincerely thank our friends and partners from Poland and Germany with whom we started this research project resuming the path of 2009 Warsaw Meeting entitled: “The Triple European Mezzogiorno” organized by the Polish Ministry of Regional Development that, for the first time, faced in comparison terms the most significant aspects of the “dualism” affecting the economy of Germany, Poland and Italy.
The fact that these subjects caught the interest of new friends and partners, such as the representatives of prestigious institutes of other European areas (Austria, France, Spain) and Mediterranean areas (Lebanon, Morocco, Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria, Turkey, Balkans) offers me the opportunity to express them my greetings and to thank them for their contribution. I wish to thank also the Mayor of Sorrento, Giuseppe Cuomo, Sorrento Town Council and the representatives of all Campania institutions for their valuable collaboration. The two intense study work planned and the rich list of illustrious personalities who will take part in the Meeting – among which the Nobel Peace Prize Shirin Ebadi – makes me difficult to personally thank all the participants. I just wish to sincerely thank all people involved in this project and to express my heart-felt appreciation for their valuable contributions.
The study days on “European Mezzogiorno Areas and Mediterranean Area in the Storm - The New Argonauts”, resume the path started last year, facing once again the unsolved problems of the delayed development in European “Mezzogiorno” Areas and Mediterranean Area. In this phase we have tried to deepen the analysis, with the aid of international lecturers and participants, focusing the attention of some causes or concurrent causes that make this phenomenon very complex and diversified. Moreover, we have paid attention above all to the problems affecting younger generations in their manifold and complex nuances. In this context we do not have the presumptuousness to indicate solutions, thing that would be impossible due to the complexity of this problem. We simply wish to launch “provocations”, so that, at least, it could be possible to identify alternative pathways consistent with the new world that imposes a deep behavioural change in the current approach. We are then particularly interested in creating a discussion area and a starting point for governors and institutions of the territories concerned, in order to favour the identification of new and more adequate thinking patterns able to stimulating in their turn actions and policies aimed at fostering development, overcoming the still evident differences in comparison with the correspondent most advanced areas. In the belief that our initiative will be useful, also on the basis of the increasing appreciations received so far, I underline the will to institutionalize Sorrento Meeting, in order to offer this wonderful place the opportunity to play a central role in the economy of European “Mezzogiorno” and Mediterranean Area, with the support of local institutions and of the whole town.
Moreover, I hope that the efforts that we all are making together – the Regional Observatory Banks-Enterprises of Economy and Finance and all the European and Mediterranean partner organizations – will allow us achieving as soon as possible the establishment of a consolidated network able to generate, though a common approach, an increasingly significant and useful activity of research, analysis and planning concerning European “Mezzogiorno” and Mediterranean Area.
It is exactly through this structure that it could be possible to stimulate proposals and constructive ideas suggested by all the subjects involved (especially women and young people), able to identify new commitment and thinking pathways and/or propose new experience to be extended and capitalize in the reference contexts.
The commitment of our Meetings is then to stress the importance of the new economic and productive balance generated by the globalization process and its effects – not always positive, especially if not adequately controlled – at local level.
Particular attention, in this context, will be paid to the effects on the new generations who, without homogeneous opportunities of inclusion and growth, risk to transform European “Mezzogiorno” and Mediterranean Area in exporting territories due to the migration of human resources, with a consequent impoverishment of their social and productive tissue. In the attempt to solve this situation, our work will have to face these concepts starting once again from the Gordian knots introduced last year and amplified this year by the “storm” that is affecting the whole European and Mediterranean Area, feeding increasing worries and fears. Our efforts will go in the direction to trying to consider this area from a positive point of view, supported by the awareness of the role of young people, who will be New Argonauts able to overcome the environmental adversities that surround them. Employment problems, mobility and social drifts of new generations are the main topics of our work, in the attempt to identify new and more adequate development patterns able to take into account the economic laws but that, at the same time, can reintroduce social and ethical rules.
We are perfectly aware that this pathway is not easy, especially because it implies the overcoming of all the internal and external obstacles that so far have hindered – at least in Italian “Mezzogiorno” – a proper solution to the difference with the rest of the Country and have even contributed to increase it.
It is therefore necessary to make a common effort for overcoming egoistic and/or resignation positions and exploit the natural and human resources of these areas, resolutely orienting them towards actions aimed at favouring a progressive but rapid normalization.
Then, in the hope that indications and considerations that can facilitate this process will emerge from our work and with the aim to optimize the confrontation of ideas that will derive from the numerous and specific contributions, now I will give the floor to the other interventions, in order to start these study days focused on the above mentioned topics.
Once again thanks for your presence and contribution.
Have a great work day!