Continuing a strong relationship.

Italy and Germany are enjoying a stronger partnership than ever. The EXPO in Milan is just one event where the two countries are coming together in 2015 | By Emanuele Gatti

“Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life” is the motto of the universal exhibition EXPO 2015, hosted by Italy between May and October in Milan. More than 160 countries will present their own view on the how to satisfy the increasing need of vital energy with a sustainable approach. Germany, with the second largest Pavilion at EXPO 2015 will greatly contribute to a better understanding of the huge problem humanity is facing and will present possible solutions based on its great know-how and technology. The visit to the German Pavilion is a must for the 20 million people that are supposed to visit the EXPO 2015 in Milan.

The Italian Chamber of Commerce for Germany (ITKAM), a bilateral institution with more than 100 years of distinguished excellent work to foster the mutual economical success of both countries, is a partner of the German Pavilion in providing an easy way to buy tickets, organize trips and above all, bilateral business-to-business (B2B) events in Milan and all of Italy.

In addition to the site just outside Milan, where the Italian pavilion sheds new light into the future of feeding the planet and gives a quick and impressive tour of Italy in few minutes, EXPO 2015 offers an unprecedented series of cultural, scientific and artistic events both in the City of Milan and in several other cities not far away. As an example Venice, together with its everlasting fascination presents itself with the “Biennale dell’Arte”, the traditional and well-established art exhibition, an event no art lover can afford to miss.

Thousands of Juventus FC recently traveled to Berlin to see their team play in the Champions League final. They experienced the exceptional vital energy of a unique city and the traditional warm hospitality during their stay. But this is not all: the vital energy of Berlin attracts also thousands of young entrepreneurs, among them many Italians, who find Berlin to be the best place to locate their start-up companies. The excellent technical education of the young Italians who decide to invest their creativity, skills and energy in Germany will be the ideal complement to the perfectly organized German business model, based on innovation, efficiency and quality. ITKAM is very active here, too.

The enhanced speed of the reforms the Italian Government of Prime Minister Matteo Renzi is undertaking, cover essential topics to ease foreign investments in Italy. More in general all the aspects of what Renzi calls the “bureaucratic machine”, i.e. the way all institutions work, will be addressed by the reforms. It starts with the composition of Parliament with its election process and continues with the modernization of the public administration, including the improved efficiency of the civil justice and of the educational system.

An important part of the reforms is the Jobs Act that will make the labor market more competitive. The goal of such programs is to open the market to more people, especially young, thus reducing the biggest Italian problem, i.e. the unemployment rate. At the same time, although keeping comprehensive welfare for the workers, the Jobs Act shall facilitate the relationships among social parties and thus stimulate good and sustainable employment contracts versus temporary ones.

The educational system will be reformed with the goal for the primary and secondary schools to give not only a formal education to the students but also the proper skills required by the globalized labor market. One example of success is the dual system, where students alternate between work and classes, that has been practiced in Germany for hundreds of years. Italy will need to adapt it to the specific circumstances of its economy and school system. ITKAM is fully engaged to support the Umbrella Organization of the Italian Chambers of Commerce to play the same fundamental role the German Chambers of Commerce have been playing.

The energy that this government and parliament is putting into the reform process has gained universal recognition, especially in Germany. At the end, the final target is to contain the fiscal deficit and to regain economic growth.

Europe needs a strong Italy and Italy needs a strong Europe, for several reasons. Let’s mention a few of them. Italy is the second largest industrial member state in the EU. Without the continuous improvement of the fundamental products and services delivered by the Italian companies, especially OEM products or subcomponents, other economies will suffer too. Italy is a very large domestic market. A stable and efficient financial system must be preserved to support the huge sovereign debt and at the same time to let the real economy grow. Without domestic consumption, at least at the pre- crisis level, traditional European partners will have to reduce their ambitions to export to Italy.

Without a solution to the endemic problem of youth’s unemployment there will not be social peace in southern Europe. Unemployment leads to migration that, at the first glance, may look positive to fill open positions in developed economies, but in the long term may be very risky with entire generations disappearing from their own countries and causing potential integration problems in others.

The peculiar Italian geopolitical position in the Mediterranean is an asset never used enough by the European Union. Although a lot of thoughts were recently given to the epochal migration from the coasts of Africa to Europe, a real political strategy to address the relationship between the EU and its neighbors in the Medi- terranean has not been put into action. Italy is active in several peacekeeping missions, investing considerable resources and has achieved very positive results for the overall security of the territories it takes care of.

And last but not least Italy is a net contributor to all emergency funds and initiatives to stabilize the eurozone. Without this tremendous effort Italy makes, the effect of such initiatives will need to be reassessed.

Finally, Germany for the reasons mentioned above, is probably the most important partner to Italy and vice versa. The vicinity, the cultural ties, the perfect industrial integration, the respect and inter- est in each other’s technologies and products are a perfect basis to improve the common European integration process, the bilateral support and the common growth. ITKAM, since 1911 active in Germany, is taking care daily in solving the operational problems of institutions, companies and private businessmen. The goal is to increase both the trade volumes between the two economies and to foster German investments in Italy and vice versa. It is consistently pursed with education, meetings, B2B events, congresses and this year specifically with the support to EXPO 2015!

Prof. Dr. Emanuele Gatti is president of the Italian Chamber of Commerce for Germany (ITKAM).

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