European cohesion, the seventh national day in Messina: the gaps and the “young” resources of the South

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By John

In a “two-speed” country like Italy, the development policies of the South play a strategic role in promoting balanced economic growth and reducing territorial inequalities. And if cohesion policies, aimed at providing everyone with equal development tools, represent the same ethical dimension of a supranational institution like the European Union, talking about it in the South has a special value, addressing areas where the gaps are stronger and the need for targeted actions is much more accentuated. And where, therefore, a more impressive awareness-raising action is needed regarding the tools offered by the EU but, above all, on the strategies aimed at being able to actually use them as, unfortunately, does not always happen.

The “Seventh Cohesion Day” organized as part of TRUE-Trusting Europe, the project co-financed by the European Union and implemented by the Tucep inter-university consortium, of which Unime is also part, turned the spotlight on the policies promoted by the European Union. , with the communication agency Withub, the research and consultancy company Digivis and the La Nuova Europa association.

The day, which took place in the classroom of the Peloritana Academy of Pericolanti of the University of Messina, opened with institutional greetings from the vice-rector Eugenio Cucinottaof the administrative manager of the Unime European Documentation Centre Loriana Maimone Ansaldo Pattiof the professor Roberto Montaninirepresentative of Unime in Tucep, and of the president, prof. Gianluca Rossi of the University of Perugia, who explained the functions of the consortium, in which in addition to academic institutions, local businesses and start-ups are also represented, encouraging the meeting between training and the world of work.

The meeting was coordinated by the deputy editor of Gazzetta del Sud Natalia La Rosaresponsible for the Noi Magazine insert, which highlighted the importance of correct information regarding issues concerning Europe, also to shorten that “distance” often perceived especially by young people.

The regulatory framework and intervention strategies

The technical reports were entrusted to the teachers of the Scipog Department of the University Anna Pitrone And Domenica Farinella, it’s at Piero David researcher at the URT ISMED-CNR. Pitrone outlined a broad historical and legal excursus of the principle of European cohesion, on which the Commission is called to report every three years. And the last report of 2022, post-covid, but before the conflicts, signaled the emergence of new gaps, also in light of the objectives of the new programming: green and digital transition. “Without adequate political actions, new economic, social and territorial disparities could be generated – highlighted Pitrone – The hope is that states will be ready to respond to old and new challenges”. Farinella outlined territorial development in the South “from the end of the extraordinary intervention to place-based territorial development policies”, i.e. based on the real needs and peculiarities of the places to which they refer: “The South still remains an area with serious socio-economic problems -cheap. To address these challenges, a continuous commitment to promoting territorial development is necessary, through integrated policies that involve local communities, promote innovation and create sustainable employment opportunities.”

Twenty years of gaps in the South

The gap that the South has not managed to recover in 20 years was highlighted by David, analyzing the results of the cohesion policies in Italy for the 2000-2020 period and outlining the development of the new 2021-2027 programming cycle.

Almost all of Southern Italy, he noted, has continued to grow much less than the average of the EU27 countries. But the trend is negative for the whole country: in 2000 there were 10 Italian regions among the top 50 in terms of GDP per capita and none among the bottom. In 2021, only four remained among the former (Autonomous Province of Bolzano, Lombardy, Autonomous Province of Trento and Valle d’Aosta), while among the latter there are now four (Puglia, Campania, Sicily and Calabria). The recent demographic trends underway in Italy, particularly in the South, suggest that aging and depopulation may contribute to widening income gaps with the rest of Europe in the future. In the absence of interventions on employment and productivity, the gap with the EU in 2030 is destined to widen almost everywhere in Italy and in particular in the South.

The resources that you are unable to spend

And if there are resources to combat the gaps, the South does not know how to spend them: in fact, the very serious delay emerges linked to various elements, including administrative stability, the quality of governance, the continuous regulatory innovations and the complexity of the tenders, to faced with the structural lack of personnel capable of supporting planning and participation.

The same idea emerged from the debate, in which the student, among others, also intervened Gianluca Carbone, coordinator of the student newspaper UniVersoMe, highlighting the need for training courses for professional figures who can provide adequate consultancy in the preparation and presentation of projects aimed at obtaining European resources. A horizon in which the employment prospects, in particular of young people, and of young people from the South, can profitably meet, with the concrete use in the territories of resources that often exist only on paper. And in this fundamental path is the dissemination, knowledge and sharing of opportunities and ideas, especially in the most disadvantaged areas.

Explaining Europe to the territories

TRUE-TRUsting Europe is a project co-financed by the European Union and implemented by the Tucep inter-university consortium, of which Unime is also a member, with the communication agency Withub, the research and consultancy company Digivis and the association La Nuova Europa APS ,

It aims to raise public awareness regarding the cohesion policies of the European Union, i.e. regarding the projects linked to the different territories and aimed at supporting their development, through a series of meetings and with the organization of workshops and the preparation of information materials.

The Messina meeting was the seventh of the itinerant route which touched various Italian cities and which will end in Rome on November 30th, during the final event scheduled in the European Space David Sassoli.