In winter Italy avoided a recession and now it seems to be recovering: is there a change of pace between your government and that of Mario Draghi?
The Draghi government is working well – replies Roberto Gualtieri, 54, former Minister of Economy and candidate for mayor of the Democratic Party in Rome -. The data for the first quarter, in which we did better than France, Germany and Spain, shows that the policy I conducted with the previous government worked. Investments, construction, internal demand, service stability: behind there is the vitality of our companies but also the right choices at a macroeconomic level and in the mix of interventions. I see positive continuity from the new government and great work on vaccines and recovery. This year I expect growth of more than 5%.
In Rome, job losses during this crisis are almost double the national averages. How do you explain it?
Rome pays for the inadequacy of the Raggi and Alemanno administrations. It hasn’t been planned and invested for years. We have studied the budgets and the impressive figure of the amount of resources that Rome had and has, but they remain unspent.
Can you be more precise?
2019 ended with a current surplus of 260 million, one billion of cash on hand and just 184 million committed to investments: per inhabitant, less than a third compared to Milan or Naples. And there is a very low share of national extraordinary loans intercepted, due to pure planning incapacity.
Do you have any examples?
Of course. The money earmarked for the new metro lines A and B trains was not spent because the notice was poorly written. Those for the new subways went to other cities, because there were no plans. Basically in Rome we did austerity. But it is not imposed from outside: due to the inability to spend and the failure to provide essential services. Crates full and the city literally falling apart.
What do you propose?
The ability to design and execute works must be strengthened, also with dedicated structures and specific professionals. We need a simplified governance of municipal companies and agencies to make transport, traffic and waste collection work. also a growth engine: the circular economy needs technology and skills, an integrated transport system needs innovation, including digital. Then it is necessary to enhance the vocations of Rome: research and high technology industry, culture, artistic and audiovisual production, tourism, trade, advanced services.
You speak as if there was no social emergency in the suburbs …
Not at all. priority is to heal the wounds of inequality and exclusion, focusing on social policies and infrastructures, involving the third sector. Urban spaces must be redeveloped, so concreteness is needed, starting with projects to intercept the resources of the Recovery. Rome has the potential of a green and sustainable city, digital and creative, inclusive and open to the world. As Paris does, we will rethink spaces and functions to ensure essential services in all neighborhoods.
But if the bureaucracy goes on a signature strike to avoid liability, what can you do about it?
Municipalities are the entities with the best investment capacity. If Rome behaves differently from Milan, Bologna, Florence and Bari, the responsibilities lie with the mayor and the council. We will focus on the best skills, on a more efficient organization and on young and qualified grafts. Recovery is an opportunity.
Weren’t the councils of the Democratic Party also contributed to the collapse of the Municipality?
The Francesco Rutelli and Walter Veltroni administrations have been the best in recent decades. Alemanno was given a budget in order and the cancellation of the debt decided by the government. After five years of disastrous management, it left him with a structural deficit of 550 million and the collapse of investments. Ignazio Marino put the accounts back in place: a job finished in the paralysis of the current administration. Today there is a chance to leave again. We can improve the quality and quantity of the services provided. An example? The Court of Auditors explains how the absence of investments in the renewal of the Atac fleet has caused maintenance costs to rise at the expense of the service.
They say: if Gualtieri wins the primary, because the leaders of the Roman Democratic Party allow him to do so, who will then influence him. If he wins the ballot it will be thanks to M5S, which will then influence him in turn.
The Roman Democratic Party today is a young, vital and renewed party, we aim to create a broad alliance that involves the social, economic, associative forces and all the people who want the rebirth of Rome. For my part, I think I have demonstrated my way of working. At the Ministry of Economy I made choices based on merit, without which we would not have obtained the results that everyone now recognizes.
In a ballot between Virginia Raggi and Carlo Calenda who would you vote for?
Only those who know they will not get to the ballot ask themselves this question. All the findings tell us that this scenario does not exist. The challenge to three, we the right and the Rays.