The emir of Qatar, Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, will invest in Italy?
So said the emir during the bilateral meeting held in Rome last week with Prime Minister Mario Monti. Although Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani has not joined, of course, in the details of the promise, are two particular areas that could be involved in these investments. The first relates to the football World Cup in 2022 that will be held just in Qatar. The Emir has announced an agreement between the Italian and the Qatari Football Association, but also paved the way for investment by Italian companies to build the necessary infrastructure for the sporting event. In short, a preferred route for Italian entrepreneurs in the construction of stadiums and roads that will renew Doha within the next 10 years. But, as said, the emir mentioned investments, and they could involve the tourism area, and in particular the Costa Smeralda, that currently is in the hands of the Aga Khan. The fall of Gaddafi’s regime has created a hole – and not just economic – in many Italian financial realities. Especially the family of Ras Libya had large shares in Unicredit and Finmeccanica, just where the Emirate of Qatar could intervene effectively replacing Libya as a privileged partner of the bank and the company that manufactures fighter jets that are coveted in Doha.
Before meeting the emir of Qatar, the President had made a tour of the Middle East and, before that, had flown to China. A tour de force that aims to restore credibility to Italy and the Italian market, as well as collecting interest around our economy. Nothing concrete yet, but in addition to the words of Hamad bin Khalifa, still echo those of Chinese President Hu Jintao, who has announced plans to encourage Chinese investment in Italy. But to the words must follow the facts, at least that’s what we all expect.
By early 2012, the Prime Minister Mario Monti and the political establishment have scheduled a load of institutional events. An Eurogroup, a European Council, meeting with Nicolas Sarkozy in Paris, with Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin and even with Obama and in Wall Street to promote his economic agenda and attract investors to reduce Italy’s debt. The objective of the prime minister is to inform partners about the latest decisions on economic policy in Italy and to reassure on Italian efforts in consolidating public finances and make its economy more competitive.
Premier Mario Monti replaced Silvio Berlusconi in November when, because the crisis and doubts in Europe, Parliament set up a caretaker government over Italy’s ability to pull itself out of its troubles. He immediately sent out an economic measure, asking for sacrifices from all Italians, but getting a lot of criticism because the financial maneuver penalized again and again the lower middle ranges of the country. Now the premier is facing a tough battle against privatization, as taxi drivers, pharmacists, truck drivers, lawyers and others from sectors he is seeking to liberalise, that have staged angry strikes. Italian people are tired of making sacrifices after the previous governments and political parties led the country in shambles while the usual lobby, untouchable, powerful and politically embroiled, that enjoy a sort of immunity and get away. Despite the economic situation is severe, with an unemployment rate that has gotten worse in recent times and with many people living close to the poverty, the sacrifice was accepted, trusting in Monti and hoping very soon in an economic and financial revival of the country.
To Super Mario, as he has been nicknamed in USA, was even dedicated the last TIME magazine cover.
“I just want to say how much we appreciate the strong start that he has embarked on and the very effective measures that he is promoting inside of Italy. When Europe is doing well, it’s good for American jobs and businesses. When growth in Europe slows or your financial markets are unsettled, we feel the consequences, just as you felt the impact of the U.S. financial crisis four years ago.”, Obama said. GREAT OBAMA! The two leaders also discussed the Middle East and upcoming economic and NATO summits in Chicago. Obama thanked Monti for Italian assistance in Afghanistan and for the role Italy played in enforcing a new fly zone over Libya that ultimately resulted in toppling strongman Gadhafi.
I am proud that Obama spent some of his time with our president and hope that America and Americans look with more confidence to Italy and Italians, in the light of a report of fraternal friendship that since time immemorial binds these two countries.