ANSA/Italy to get single special zone for whole of South

Proposal for economic area accepted by European Commission.

(ANSA) – ROME, JUL 13 – Italy is to get a single special economic zone (SEZ) encompassing all its southern regions after the European Commission accepted a plan presented by the Minister for European Affairs, Southern Italy, Cohesion Policy and the NRRP Raffaele Fitto on Thursday.
The project involves combining Italy’s eight existing SEZs (Abruzzo, Calabria, Campania, Ionian, Adriatic, Eastern Sicily, Western Sicily and Sardinia) to create a single economic area enjoying special conditions for investment, tax benefits and administrative and bureaucratic streamlining in order to foster regional growth and development.
The greenlight for the single SEZ arrived during a meeting between Fitto and the Executive Vice President Margrethe Vestager, who is also the Commissioner responsible for Cohesion, in Brussels.
“Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager and Minister Raffaele Fitto had a constructive meeting in Brussels today,” a Commission spokeswoman said.
“During the meeting the Italian authorities presented their plan to establish a Special Economic Zone for Southern Italy.
Vice-President Vestager accepted the Italian proposal,” continued the spokeswoman, saying however that it should “be drawn up in line with the rules on state aid”.
Fitto said he was “very satisfied” with the meeting.
“These measures are important tools for increasing the attractiveness and competitiveness of southern Italy by reducing the gaps with the rest of the country and with the EU,” he said.
“The single SEZ represents an important opportunity for development and to attract investment, which, together with the effective use of European and national resources, can make Southern Italy an important point of reference not only for our country, but for the entire European continent,” continued Fitto.
“This is a real, decisive driver for the economy of the South, of Italy and of the Mediterranean, capable of marking a turning point for its relaunch, also in terms of the renewed centrality of the entire area,” said the minister.
Fitto said the commissioner had also been open to the possibility of making the so-called ‘Decontribution South’ measure involving a temporary reduction in social security contributions for employers in southern regions structural “in order to provide regulatory and temporal certainty to businesses and workers”.
Premier Giorgia Meloni hailed the decision, saying it represented a “step change” for the southern economy.
“The development of the economy in southern Italy is a priority for our government,” said Meloni.
“However, we are convinced that this goal must be achieved by abandoning the logic of welfarism, which does not work, and providing opportunities for work and growth and making these areas of the country competitive and attractive for investments and businesses,” she added.
“The single SEZ goes exactly in this direction and constitutes a step change for the economy of the South,” concluded Meloni.
For Deputy Premier and Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani, “the European Commission’s decision to create a SEZ for southern Italy is good news”.
“The SEZ will favour the growth of southern Italy. The government has maintained its commitment to help the South,” he tweeted.
“We thank Minister Raffaele Fitto for having believed in our proposal for a single SEZ in the Mezzogiorno and for having taken it to Brussels today, with an exceptional result,” said Sergio Fontana, president of Confindustria Puglia and Confindustria Bari.
“Allow us to work with less bureaucracy and certain rules and we will generate new job opportunities.

Puglia for the South, the South for Italy,” he added. (ANSA)