Translation by Robertina Tantillo
Mister President, honourable Members,
I made lots of speeches in this House, as a Representative, as Vice-President of the Chamber of Representatives, as a Minister of Youth ; and yet, solemnity is so great that I have never able to intervene without feeling a strong emotion and deep respect. It is true, particularly today, as I am addressing you as Prime Minister in order to ask you to declare your trust to a Government , led by myself. A great responsibility for those who have to get and deserve that trust and a great responsibility for those who have to deny or grant trust. These are the crucial times of our democracy and we don’t have to get used to them. For this reason I wish to thank ,now, who will express in this Chamber according his/her own ideas, any way will be chosen.
Sincere thanks to the President of Republic, Sergio Mattarella that, in order to follow up to the clearly espressed indications coming by the Italian people last September ,on 25th, did not want to deprive me of his precious advice. Thanks to the parties of the governing coalition , to my party, Fratelli d’Italia, to Lega, Forza Italia to Noi Moderati and their leaders, to the centre- right parties that, after succeeding in the ballot box, have given rise to this Government in one of the fastest time frames of the Republican history and I believe it is the most tangible expression of a cohension that, on the test of reality, shows always to be able to overcome the different sensibilities, in the name of a greater interest.
These days’ promptness has been usual for us but, in the meantime, also dutiful as Italy’s plight does not allow to waste our time and we are not going to do it. Furthermore, I wish to thank my predecessor, President Mario Draghi, that both in Italy and abroad, offered his availability in order to grant a fast and friendly handover to the new Government although , ironically, that Government was led by the President of the only opposition party to the Executive chaired by himself. This aspect has been very embroidered but I want to tell you that I believe there is nothing strange. It should always be like this as so it is in big democracies.
And, among the heavy burdens on my shoulders today, there is the awareness to be the first woman as Government leader of this Nation. When I focus on the scale of it, I cannot help but thinking about the responsibilities towards all those women that, in this moment, face heavy and unfair difficulties to affirm their own skills or the right to realize the award of their daily sacrifices.But I also think , with reverence, about those people who built, by their example, the stairs that today let me climb and break the heavy glass ceiling over our heads. I am speaking about women that took risks , women that dared out of impetus, for reason or for love ; as Cristina, a smart organizer of literary salons and barricades, stubborn at the point of leaving together with The Thousands that made Italy , as Alfonsina that rode fast against the wind of prejudice, as Maria or Grazia that, with their example, opened the gates of education to the children all over the Nation. And then Tina, Nilde, Rita, Oriana, Ilaria, Mariagrazia, Fabiola, Marta, Elisabetta, Samantha, Chira. Thank you. Thanks for demonstrating the value of Italian women as I hope I will be able to do now.
But my gratitude , the most heartfelt thanks, goes to Italian people who decided not to miss the electoral date by expressing their vote, so allowing the complete realization of the democratic path according to which only people are the true sovereign holders together with the regret about lots of people that gave up the exercise of this civic duty, established by the Constitution , citizens that always consider useless, more and more frequently ,their own vote, because they think “everything will be decided by someone else, inside palaces or exclusive clubs.”.
Unfortunately, this has been the case over the last 11 years, with a sequence of Government majorities fully legitimized on the constitutional level but dramatically far from the voters’indications. Today, we stop this very serious Italian anomaly , by living birth to a political Government , fully representative of our people’s will.
And we are going to take rights and duties that belong to the winners of elections: being Parliamentary majority and Government structure for five years ,by doing our best ,always putting the interest of Nation ahead the one of side or party. We will never use the vote of millions of Italians in order to substitute a power system against another one, different and opposed.
What we really want to do is to free the best energies of our Nation and grant all Italian people a future with more freedom, justice ,well-being and security.And,if gaining this goal causes the dissatisfaction of some potentates or making choices that could not be immediately understood by some citizens, we will not back down , because courage , undoubtedly, does not lack us.
We showed up in the election campaign with a Framework Programme of the Government of the coalition and with more detailed programmes of the individual parties. Voters chose the centre-right and, inside the coalition, they rewarded more some proposals than others. We will keep our commitments because the link between Representative and Represented is the essence of democracy.
I Know that some observers and some political forces of opposition will not appreciate lots of our proposals but I am not going to meet that drift according to which democracy belongs to someone more than to others and that an unwanted election outcome is not accepted and its realization must be prevented by any means.
In the latest days, there have been several people, also outside our National borders, to express their intention to supervise our new Government. I think they had better to spend their time differently.
Inside this Chamber and in our Parliament powerful and fighting opposition forces are present, able to make their voice heard, without, I hope, any outside help. I want to hope that those forces agree with me about the fact that those who from outside assert to be vigilant on Italy do not direspect me or this Government but the whole Italian people that do not need to take lessons .
Italy belongs to the Western forces and to their alliance system, founder State of European Union , of Eurozone and Atlantic alliance, G7 member and , before all, birthplace of western civilization and its value system, founded on freedom, equality and democracy, precious fruits coming from the classical and Jewish Christian roots of Europe.
We are the successors of San Benedetto, Italian and main patron of the whole Europe.
Europe. Speaking about Europe, let me thank the leaders of the Community institutions, the President of the European Council,Charles Michel, The President of European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, the President of the European Parliament, Roberta Metsola, the current President of the Council, my friend Petr Fiala and, together with them, all the State leaders that , in these hours, have wished me to make a good job.
Obviously, I am not unaware of the curiosity and the interest on the attitude and the Government will hold towards European institutions or, even better, inside European institutions , because that is the place where Italy will make its voice heard, as befits to a great founder Nation .
Not in order to stop or disrupt European integration , as I heard lots of times, during these weeks too, but with the aim of addressing it towards a better effectiveness in reply to the crisis and external threat and to a closer approach to citizens and enterprises. We, to be clear, do not consider the European Union as an elite club, with more or less important members or, even worse, as a joint- stock company run by a board of directors, with the only duty of keeping the accounts in order.
The European Union , in our opinion, is the common home of European people and, as such, must be able to face the big challenges of our era, starting by those ones where member States can hardly face by themselves.
I am thinking about trade agreements, of course, but also to the supplying of raw materials and power, to migration policies,to geopolitical choices, to the fight against terrorism , big challenges that the European Union has not always been ready to face. Because, colleagues, how was it possible that an integration born in 1950, 70 years ago, as a Economic Community of Coal and Steel, after 70 years ,after widening exponentially, finds itself to be particularly facing just in matter of energy supply and raw materials?
Who asks this question cannot be regarded as an enemy or an heretic but a pragmatic who is not afraid of saying that something is not working as it could. We need a more effective integration in facing the big challenges, in accordance with the short saying”united in diversity”, because this is the great European feature. Nations with centuries-old histories, able to join , each of them bringing its own identity as an added value .
A European common home means, of course, shared rules in economic and financial fields.
This Government will respect the current rules and, in the meantime, will offer its help to change what did not work, starting from the current debate about the reform of Stability and Growth Pact . By virtue of his strenght and history, Italy has the duty , even before the right, to hold its head high in these international contexts, with a constructive spirit but without any kind of subordination (or inferiority complex ), as too often it seemed to us to occur in the past, combining self- interest with the awareness of a European and Western common destiny.
The Atlantic Alliance assures our democracies a framework of peace and security that we, too often, takes for granted; it is Italy’s duty to make a full contribution because , you like it or not, freedom has a price and that price , for each State, is the ability to defend itself and the reliability that it demonstrates inside the alliances it belongs to. Italy, all over the years, has shown it, from the numerous International missions as main character and , about it, I want to thank all women and men of our Armed Forces that kept prestige of Italy high in the most difficult situations, even at the cost of their own life :Homeland will be always grateful to you!
Italy will continue to be a reliable party inside the Atlantic Alliance , starting with the support to the brave Ukranian people that are fighting against the Russian invasion , because, not only we cannot accept an aggression war and the violation of the territorial integrity of a sovereign nation, but also because it is the best way to defend our own National territory. Only an Italy that honours the commitments can have the authority to ask, at European and Western level , for example, that the burdens of the International crisis are shared in a more bilanced way and it is what we are going to do , from the energetic issue.
War has intensified the situation, already very hard, caused by the increase of the energy and fuel costs, unaffordable for a lot of enterprises that might be forced to close and their businesses and to lay off their own workers and for lots of families that today cannot face the bill increase .
However , it is wrong whoever believes that is is possible to barter Ukraine freedom with our quietness. Giving into Putin’s blackmail would not solve the problem , it would deepen the question, by leading the way to further demands and blackmails, together with following increases of energy bigger than the ones we have faced in these months. The indications coming from the last European Council represent a step forward reached also thanks to my predecessor and Minister Cingolani’s commitment, but it is not still enough. The absence , still today, of a common reply leaves, as only space, that one of the single governments’actions that risk to weaken the domestic market and our enterprices’competitiveness.
As far as prices are concerned if, on one hand, it is true that simply debating on containment measures has reduced, momentarily , speculation , on the other hand , it is clear that , if we do not follow up to the announcements with concrete actions , speculation will start again.
For this reason it will be necessary to maintain and reinforce the National measures in support of families and enterprises both for bills and fuel, a huge financial support that will drain most of the searchable resources and force us to postpone other measures that we would have start in the next Budget Law.
But our priority has to stop the cost of electricity and accelerate it , in any way, diversifying the sources of supply and the national production , because I want to believe that from the energetic crisis may arise, paradoxically, even an occasion for Italy .
Our seas possess gas fields that we must exploit and our Nation , especially Southern Italy , is the paradise of renewable sources by the sun, the wind , the heat of ground, the tides, the rivers, an asset of green resources too often stopped by incomprehensible burocracy and bans.
In short, I think that Italy , with courage and practical terms , could overcome this crisis stronger and independent than ever. In addition to high energy prices, Italian families have to face an inflation rate that has reached the 11.1 per cent on a yearly basis and is inevitably eroding the purchasing power, although some of this growth has been uptaken by companies.
It is essential to put into action mesures aimed to make the families available income increase , starting from reducing taxation on productivity bonuses, from a further rising of the exemption threshold of the socalled “fringe benefit”, from the strenghtening of the company welfare, so succeeding in widening the range of primary goods that benefit from a reduced VAT at 5%. Concrete measures that we will also face in the next Budget Law, on which we are already working.
The context in which this Government will have to act is a really complicated one , perhaps the most difficult since World War till today. Geopolitical tensions and the energy crisis curb hopes of a post pandemic recovery. The macroeconomic forecast for 2023 underlines a remarkable slowdown in Italian, European and Word economy, in a climate, mostly, of estreme uncertainty. The European Central Bank , in September, revised its forecast for the Eurozone , by cutting 1,2 percentage points from its June forecast , predicting a growth of just 0,9 %. Downward slowdown and forecast that , obviously, involve the performance of Italian economy for the next year. In the latest updated note to the DEF, the GDP growth forecast for 2023 stops at 0.6 %, exactly a quarter of the 2,4% predicted by the Economic and Financial Document referred to the month of April and the MEF’s predictions can be considered optimistic compared with the most recent ones of the International Monetary Fund, according to which 2023 will be a recession year : less than 0,2%, the worst outcome among the main word economies after Germany’s one.
And it is not , unfortunately, an isolated situation; data are clear. In the last 20 years Italy has overall grown by 4%, while France and Germany more than 20%; in the last ten years our Nation has been in the bottom ranks in Europe in terms of economic and employment growth , with the only exception of the rebound recorded after the collapse of GDP in 2020. It is no coincidence that, for ten years, weak, hetereogenous Governments succeeded in Italy , without a clear popular mandate , unable to solve the structural shortages from which Italy and its economy suffer and to lay the foundations of a sustained and lasting economy. Low or zero growth together with an inflation increase that has passed 95 per cent in the Eurozone and has forced the European Central Bank , as some other central banks, for the first time after 11 years, to raise interest rates. A decision considered as risky and that may have hard repercussions on bank credits of household and businesses and which comes on the top of the one already taken to put an end to the programme to purchase fixed income securities on the open market as of July 1st, 2022, by creating an additional twist to State members that, like ours, have an high public debt.
So, we are in the midst of a storm. Our boat has suffered lots of damages and Italian people have entrasted us with the task of bringing the boat to the harbour in this very hard voyage. We were aware of what was expecting us , and the other political parties too, even those ones that , ruling over the last ten years, have brought – according to the data- a worsening of the main crucial macroeconomics fundamentals and today, of course, they are ready to assert that they own the right remedy and are ready to charge the new Government for the problems Italy has to face. We were aware of the boulder we were going to carry on our shoulder. We fought anyway to take this responsibility on because, firstly, we are people not used to escape and , secondly, because our boat, Italy,with all its bruising,” is the most beautiful ship in the world”, quoting the famous expression that used the American aircraft carrier, when it met the training ship, Amerigo Vespucci. A solid vessel to which no destination is precluded if it decides to sail again.
So we are here to mend the torn sails, to fix the planks of the hull, overcome the waves that crash in upon us, with the compass of our convinctions to guide us towards our chosen destination and with a crew able to carry out their tasks at their best .
We have been asked how we intend to reassure investors to pay our debts at 145 per cent of GDP, second in Europe only to that of Greece.We could answer by quoting some fundamentals of our economy that remain solid despite everything. : we are among the few European Nations with a constant primary surplus, i.e.the State spends less than it collects, net of the interest on debt; the private saving of the Italian families has exceeded the threshold of EUR 5 trillions and , in a climate of confidence, could support investments in the real economy.But, even more important than these data, already significant, are the yet unexpressed potential Italy has got. I feel like saying that, if this Government succedeed in doing what it has in mind, betting on Italy could be not only a safe investment but, maybe, even a good deal , because the horizon we want to look at is not next year or the new election.
What we are really interested in is what Italy will be like in ten years and I am ready to do what needs to be done , at the cost even not being re-elected, to make sure that ,through my and our work, the future of this nation will be easier.
The way to reduce debt consists neither in the blind austerity imposed in the past years nor the more or less creative financial adventures. The main road, the only possible one, is the economic growth, lasting and structural. And , to achieve that, we are open to encourage foreign investments; if, on one hand, we will counter predatory logics that endanger the National strategic productions, on the other hand, we will be open to welcome and stimulate those foreign enterprises that will choose to invest in Italy, bringing development, employment and know- how, in a logic of mutual benefit.
This is the context of the National Recovery and Resilience Plan. Funds collected by issuing a European common debt to cope with global crisis. A proposal put forward at the time by the centre – right government , with the Minister Giulio Tremonti, for years opposed, sometimes mocked, then implemented.
The NRP is an extraordinary opportunity to modernise Italy: we all have the duty to take full advantage on it. The challenge is complex because of the structural and burocratic that have always made it difficult for Italy even using ordinary European programming funds. Suffice is to think that the Update Note to the 2022 DEF reduced the public expenses activated by the PNNR to 15 billion compared with the 29.4 billion forecast in last April’s DEF.
Meeting future deadlines will require even more attention , considering that up now we have mostly accounted for works already started, which we will not be able to continue doing in the following years. We will spend the EUR 68.9 billion in non – repayable funds and the EUR 122,6 billion loaded to Italy by the Next Generation Eu ,as best we can, without delays and without waste , by agreeing with the European Commission on the necessary adjustments to optimize spending , especially to the light of rising prices of raw materials and energy crisis , because these matters are tackled with a pragmatic approach and not with an ideological one.
The PNRR must not be identified only as a great plan for public spending but as a chance to make a real cultural change: by finally storing the logic of bonuses, for someone above all for electoral campaign , in favour of medium –term investments aimed at the entire National community’s wellbeing; removing all the obstacles that hold back economic growth and that we have used to accept for a too long time as endemic Italy’s diseases, but they are not .
One of them is the political instability.Over the last 20 years Italy has had, on average, a Government every two years, often changing its majority. This is the reason why measures that guarantee a secure and immediate consent have always prevaled on strategic choices. It is the reason why burocracies have often become untouchable and impervious to merit. It is the reason why the Italy’s negotiating capacity in international context has been weak. And this is the reason why foreign investments, which are influenced by the changeability of Governments, has been discouraged.
This is the reason why we firmly believe that Italy needs a constitutional reform in presidential sense, one that guarantees stability and restores centrality to popular sovereignty. A reform that allows Italy to move from an “interlocutorying democracy” to a “deciding democracy”.We want to start from the hypothesis of a semi- presidentialism on the French model ,which, in the past, was widely welcommed by the centre- left but we remain open to other solutions as well.
We want to discuss this with all political forces in Parliament in order to reach the best and most shared reform. But let it be clear that we will not give up on reforming Italy if we have to face prejudicial oppositions. In this case we will act according to the mandate we have been given on this issue by Italian people: to give Italy an institutional system in which whoever wins can rule for five years and, at the end, he is judged by the voters for what he has managed to do.
In parallel to the presidential reform, we are going to follow up on the virtuous process of differentiated authonomy already put in action by several Italian regions, according to constitutional dictates and in the implementations of the principles of subsidiarity and solidarity, within a framework of national cohesion.
About the province of Bolzano, we will deal with the restoration of the standards of autonomy that led in 1992 to the granting of the UN release. We are going to complete the process to give Rome Capital that befits to a great European capital and to give new centrality to our municipalities, because each bell tower, each village is a piece of our identity to be defended. I am thinking particularly about those who live in inlands, in mountaneous areas and in the highlands that need an allied State to encourage people to live there and to fight depopulation.
I am convinced that, the turning point we believe in , will be the best chance to put the Southern question back at the centre of the Italian agenda. The South is not considered as a problem but as a chance of development for the whole nation. We will work hard to overcome an unacceptable gap , to eliminate disparities, to create jobs, to grant social safety and to improve the quality life. We will must succeed in putting an end to that hoax whereby the South exports labour, intelligence and capital that are instead essential in the same regions from which they leave. It is going without saying that it is not an easy goal but our commitment for that will be total.
And if the infrastructures in the South can no longer be postponed, new ones need to be built in the rest of Italy with the aim to strenghten connections among people and goods but also for data and communications, in order to fill the gap between the Northern Regions and the Southern ones but also the Tyrrhenian coast , The Adriatic coast and the islands to the rest of the Peninsula. Structural investments are needed to face the climate emergency , the environmental challenges, the hydrogeological risk and the coast erosion and to speed up the reconstruction process of the territories struck in recent years by earthquakes and natural disasters, as the dramatic flood that devastated The Marche region. Let me renovate, together with all of you , our condolences for the victims and our closeness to the entire community: we are at your side, we will not leave you alone , count on us.
We are going to protect the National strategic infrastructures by ensuring public ownership of networks on which companies will be allowed to offer services in a climate of free competion , starting with communications.The digital transition, strongly supported by the NRP, must be associated with the technological sovereignty , National cloud and cyber- security. And we want finally introduce a clause for the safeguard of National interest , about the economic aspect too , for public infrastructures concessions, as highways and airports. Because the model of oligarchs sitting on oil wells accumulating billions without even securing investments is not a free market model worthy of a western democracy.
Italy must return to have an industrial policy , by focusing on those sectors on which it has a competitive advantage. I am thinking about the brand, consisting of fashion, luxury, design, up to high technology. A brand made up of products of absolute excellence in the agri-food sector, which must be defended in European contests and with a larger integration of the supply chain at national level, also to aim to a fully food sovereignty that can no longer be postponed. Which, obviously, does not mean putting pineapples out of trade , as some have said, but more banally ensuring that we will not depend on Nations far from us to feed our children.
I am thinking about Italy’s favourable position in the Mediterranean and the opportunities connected with sea activities. , that can and must become a strategic asset for the whole Italy, and, particularly, for the development of the South regions. And I am also thinking about beauty .Yes, because Italy is the Nation that more than any other in the world provides the idea of artistic, narrative, expressive and landscape beauty. The whole world knows that and loves us for this reason and this is why they want to buy Italian, learn our history and spend their holidays here, in Italy. It is, definetely, a source of pride, obviously, but is , above all, an economic unvaluable resource , that increases our touristic and cultural industry. And I would add that going back to focusing on the strategic value also means promoting the Italian language abroad and enhancing the ties with the Italian communities present in every part of the world that represent an integral part of us .
For all growth objectives be achieved, a cultural revolution is needed in the relationship between the State and the production system, which must be equal and based on mutual trust. Those who today have the strenght and the will to do business in Italy must be supported and facilitated, not harassed and looked upon with suspicion , because wealth is created by companies, by their workers, not by the State with decrees and edicts.
The motto of this Government will be “do not disturb who wants to do “. Above all, enterprises are asking for less bureaucracy. Clear and sure rules, fast and transparent replies. We will solve the problem by starting from a structural semplification and deregulation of administrative procedures in order to stimulate economy, growth and investments also because we all know how excessive legislation, bureaucracy and regulations exponentially increase the risk of irregularities, litigation and corruption.A desease we have the duty to eradicate.
We need less rules, clearer for each of us and a new relationship between citizens and public administration , as citizens do not feel like a weaky part to face a tyrant State that does not listen to their needs and frustate their expectations.
From this Copernican revolution a new fiscal pact will have to come , based on three pillars. The first: to reduce the tax burden on families and enterprises through a reform in the name of equity; I am thinking, for instance, about the gradual introduction of the family quotient but I am also thinking about the extension of the flat tax for VAT holders from the current EUR 65,000 to EUR 100,000 in turnover.
Together with that, starting with the introduction of a flat tax on the increase in income compared with the maximum reached in the previous three- year period : a virtuous measure with a limited impact on State coffers that can be a strong incentive for growth.
The second pillar: a truce tax to enable citizens and enterprises , particularly, SMEs, in difficult conditions to regularise their position with the tax authorities.
Lastly, a tough fight against evasion which must start with total evaders, big enterprises and major VAT frauds and, above all, must be a real fight against evasion, not an hunting for revenue.
This is the reason why we are going to start from a change in the criteria for assessing the outcomes of the Revenue Agency , which we want to anchor in the amounts actually collected and not in the mere disputes, as has unbelievably happened been the case up to now.
Businesses and workers have been asking for a long time for the reduction of the tax and contribution wedge as an unpostponable priority.
The excessive taxes on labour represent one of the crucial obstacles to the creation of new jobs and the competitiveness of our companies on International trade. The goal we are setting on ourselves is to intervene gradually to reach a cut of at least five points in the wedge in favour of enterprises and workers with the aim of lightening the tax burden of the former and increase the paycheck of the latter. In order to incentivate companies to hire we think about a tax mechanism that rewards labour – intensive activities- “the more you hire, the less you pay”, we summarised it – but , it goes without saying, this must not detract from the necessary support for technological innovation.
Speaking about labour and enterprise, I cannot help but think about the dozens of crisis tables still open , to which we will devote our outmost commitment and and to those thousands of self – employed workers who have not been able to getting up again after the pandemic. To them, who have often been considered as children of a lesser god, we want to recognise suitable protections, in line with those rightly guaranteed to employees, because we have always been at the side of those almost 5,000,000 self- employed workers , including artisans, traders and freelancers , who constitute a backbone of the Italian economy and we will not stop right now.
For us, a worker is a worker
Adequate protections must also be recognized also to those who, after a lifetime of work, retire or would like to . We are going to facilitate a flexible exit with mechanisms compatible with the resilience of the social security system by starting , in the short time available for the next Budget Law, from the renewal of the expiring measures at the end of the year , but the priority for the future will have to be a pension system that also guarantees the young generations and to those who will receive their cheques only on the basis of the contributory system, because it is a social bomb that we go on ignoring but which in the future will affect millions of current workers that will find much lower cheques than those ones, already inadeguate, that they receive today.
There is an issue of widespread poverty that we cannot ignore. His Holiness, Pope Francis to whom I send my affectionate greetings, has, in recent times, underlined an important concept:”Poverty- he said-cannot be fought by social assistance: the gateway of dignity of a man is work. “It is a profound truth but only those who have experienced poverty at first hand can truly appreciate. This is the way we are going to travel along: we want to maintain and, where it is possible , to improve the due economic support for the weakest subjects unable to work: I am thinking about retired people in trouble, the disabled, whose degree of protection must be increased and also about those who have no income with minor children to take care of. They will not be denied the help of the State, but for the others, for those who are able to work the solution cannot be the citizenship income but work , training and a professional support , even fully exploiting the resources and the chances made available by the European Social fund, because the way of citizen income was conceived and realized has represented a defeat for those who were able to do their part for Italy, as well as for themselves and their families.
And if there are different positions on citizen income in this House, I am sure we all agree with the importance of putting an end to the tragedy of accidents, including fatal ones, at work. The issue, here, is not introducing new rules but to guarantee the full implementation of those that exist because, as the trade unions have already recalled most recently with last Sunday’s demonstration , we cannot accept that a 18- year- old boy , as Giuliano De Seta- and I am quoting him to remember all the victims- leads his home to go and work and never comes back.
We need to bridge the huge gap between training and skills required by the labour market through specific training courses, of course, but even before that with school and university training more careful to the dynamics of the labour market.
Education is the most powerful tool for increasing the wealth of a nation , in all respects, because material capital is nothing if there is no human capital.This is why schools and universities will be central to government actions , because they represent a strategic resource , crucial for Italy, for its future and for its young people.There has been a controversy over our choice to relaunch the correlation between education and merit. I am frankly impressed. Several studies demonstrate how ,nowadays, people who live in a well-off family have an extra chance to make up for the shortcoming of a school system that has been flattened downwards, while students with fewer resources are damaged by a teaching method that does not reward merit , because those gaps will not be filled in by no one else.
Italy is not a country for young people. Over the time our society has been less and less interested in their future, even in the widespread phenomenon of those young people who exclude themselves from the educational and employment circuit, as well as the increasing emergence of deviance, consisting of drugs, alcoholism and crime. And pandemic has definetely worsened this situation and, faced with this worrying perspective , the main proposals of some politicians in recent months has been to promise everyone free cannabis , because it was the easier answer. But we, unlike others, are not here to do the easiest things. We intend to work on young people’s growth in its whole , promoting cultural and artistic activities and, together with them, sport as an extraordinary tool for socialization , human training and well-being. :working on school training, mostly entrasted to our teachers’ abnegation and talent , often left alone to swim in a sea of structural , technological and motivational shortcomings; guaranteeing decent wages and earnings, scholarships for deserving; fostering the enterprise culture and the honour loan. We owe it to these young people, from whom we have taken everything away to leave them only debts to pay. And we owe it to Italy, that 161 years ago was unified by young heroes of the Renaissance and that today , from the enthusiasm and courage of its young people, can and must be rebuilt.
We know that young people are particularly interested in defending natural environment. We will take this on because, as Roger Scruton, one of the greatest teacher of the European Conservative thought, wrote:”ecology is the most vivid example of the alliance between those who are, those who were and those who will come after us”. Protecting our natural heritage engages us in exactly the same way as protecting the heritage of culture, traditions and spirituality, that we inherited from our fathers so that we can convey them to our children. There is no ecologist more convinced than a conservationist: but what differs us from a certain ideological environmentalism is that we want to defend nature with man inside, combining environmental, economic and social sustainability.
Supporting entreprises and citizens towards green transition , without handing ourselves to new strategic dependencies and respecting the principle of technological neutrality.This will be our approach.
I think I know the universe of youth engagement , a wounderful training ground for life, regardless of the political ideas that you choose to defend or to promote. I must confess that hardly I will not feel a motion of sympathy even for those who will take to the streets to challenge the policies of our government, because , inevitably, a story that was mine too, will come back to my mind. I have partecipated in so many demonstrations, I have organized so many demonstration in my life and I think this has taught me much more than many other things. So I want to speak to these youngs who will inevitably take the streets against us.
I remember a quote of Steve Jobs:”Be hungry, be crazy”. I wuold like to add :”Be free”because it is in the free will that the greatness of human being lies.
Then there is another important educational institution, together with school and university, perhaps the most important of all, and it is ,obviously , family, the primary nucleous of our societies, the cradle of affection and the place where the identity of each one of us is formed;we are going to support and protect it, as well as natality, that in 2021 registered the lowest birth rate since the Unification of Italy to the present day.To emerge from that demographic glaciation by returning to produce those years of the future, that demografic GDP, we need a huge plan economic but also cultural, in order to rediscover the beauty of parethood and put the family back at the centre of society.
It is, so, our commitment also made during the election campaign to increase the amounts of the universal single allowance and to help young couple to obtain a mortgage for their first home, also gradually working towards the introduction of the family quotient and, as family projects go together with work, we want to incentivise women’s employment , by rewarding those companies that adopt policies that offer effective solutions to reconcile home- work time and supporting minicipalities to guarentee free nurseries that are open until shop and office closing times.
Italy needs a new intergenerational alliance , which has the family as its pillars and strenghtens the bond that unites generations, children with grandparents, young people with the elderly who must, in turn, be protected , valued and supported, because they represent our roots .Montesquieu said”freedom is that goods which makes us enjoy every other goods”.
Freedom is the foundation of a real society of opportunities, it is liberty that must guide our actions, freedom to be, to do, to produce. A centre –right government will never restrict the existing freedoms of citizens and enterprises.
We will see, on the facts seen, including on civil rights and abortion, who was lying and who was telling the truth in the election campaign about what our real intentions were.
Freedom , freedom. Freedom and democracy are the distinctive elements of contemporary European civilization, in which I have always recognized myself and, therefore, even here, in spite of what has been instrumentally claimed, I have never felt sympathy or closeness towards anti- democratic regimes; for any regime, including fascism, just as I have always considered the racial laws of 1938 the lowest point of Italian history, a shame that will mark our people forever.
The totalitarisms of the twentieth century tore the whole Europe, not just Italy, for more than half a century, in a successions of horrors that has affected most European States and horror and crimes, whoever they are committed by, do not deserve any justification and are not compensated by other horrors and other crimes; in the abyss one never gets even:one just plummets.
When I was very young, I got in touch with the scent of freedom. The yearning for historical truth and the rejection of any form of abuse or discrimination by militating in the Italian democratic right , a community of men and women who have always acted in the light of the sun and in full rights in our republican institutions, even in the darkest years of the criminalization and political violence when in the name of militant anti- fascism , innocent young people were killed by spanners. That long seasons of mournings has perpetuated the hate of civil war and detached a National pacification that the Italian democratic right , more than anyone else, has always hoped for. Since then , the political community I come from has always taken steps forward , towards a full and conscious historicization of the twenty century , has assumed important governmental responsibilities, swearing an oath to the Republican Constitution , as we had the honour of doing a few hours ago. It has affirmed and embodied , with no ambiguity, the values of liberal democracy , which are the basis of the common identity of the Italian centre- right and from which we will not deviate an inch. We will fight all forms of racism, anti- Semitism , political violence and discrimination.
And freedom has been much discussed in the era of pandemic. COVID entered our lives almost three years ago and led to the death of over 177,000 people in Italy. If we have now emerged from the emergency, is mainly thanks to health personnel , their skills and self –sacrifice by which they saved lots of lives.To them , once again, our gratitude goes. And together with them, my thanks go to the workers on essential services, that never stopped. And to the extraordinary reality of our Third Sector , a virtuous representative of those intermediate Organisms considered crucial for our society.
Unfortunately, we cannot rule out a new wave of COVID or the emergence of a new pandemic in the future but we can learn from the past to be ready. Italy has adopted the most restrictive measures in the entire West, going so far as to severely restrict the fundamental freedoms of people and economic activities; despite this, it is among the worst- performing states in terms of mortality and contagion. Something, definetely , did not work and, therefore, I want to say that we will not replicate that model in any circumstances.
Correct information , prevention and accountability are much more effective than coecion in all fields and listening to doctors in the field is more valuable that guidelines written by some bureaucrat when dealing with real patients . Above all, if accountability is demanded from citizens, the first ones who have to demonstrate it are those who demand for it. There must be clarity on what happened during the management of the pandemic crisis:we owe it to those who lost their life and to those who did not spare themselves in hospital wards, while others did multimillion – dollar business with the buying and selling of masks and respirators.
Legality will be the polar star of our government action. I started doing politics when I was 15, as many of you now know, in the aftermath the day after the Via D’Amelio’s massacre, when the Mafia killed Paolo Borsellino. I started doing politics then , driven by the idea that we cannot stand and watch, that anger and indignation should somehow be translated into civic commitment. The path that led me to be the Prime Minister of Italy today comes from that hero’s example. When , after reading the list of Ministers, I came to see President Fontana a couple of days ago, I entered Montecitorio and , when I found, at the beginning of the great staircase and at the end of the staircase a picture of Paolo Borsellino, I thought a circle was closed.
We will face the Mafia cancer head on, as lots of heroes have taught us, with their courage they set an example to all Italians , refusing to turn their eyes or escaping even when they knew that their tenacy would probably lead them to their death .Magistrates, politicians, bodyguards, military personnel , ordinary citizens, priests: giants like Giovanni Falcone, Francesca Morvillo, Rosario Livatino, Rocco Chinnici, Pio La Torre, Carlo Alberto Dalla Chiesa, Piersanti Mattarella, Emanuela Loi, Libero Grassi, Don Pino Puglisi and , together with them, a very long list of men and women we will not forget.
The fight against the Mafia will find us in the front line, by this governments criminals and mobsters will only receive contempt and inflexibility.
And legality also means a just service that works, with an effective equality between prosecution and defence, a reasonable duration of trials, which is not a matter of economic growth. The slowness of justice costs us at least one point of GDP per year according to Bankitalia estimates. We will work to give citizens back the guarantee to live in a safe country, by putting the fundamental principle of the certainty of the punishment back at the centre, also thanks to a new prison plan. Since the beginning of this year there have been 71 suicides in prison. . This is not worthy of a civilized Nation , as well as the working conditions of our Prison Officers are often unworthy.
With the same determination we will also review the reform of the judicial system to put an end to the current logic that undermines the credibility of the Italian judiciary. And let me say one more thing:we have made a commitment to limit the excess of discretion in the juvenile justice system by guaranteed and objective fostering and adoption procedures so that there will never be another Bibbiano case.
We are going to carry out this commitment. Italians feel the unbearable weight of unsafe cities, where there is no immediate protection, where the absence of the State is perceived. We want to make a commitment to bring citizens closer to institutions but also to bring back the physical presence of the State in every city. We want to make security a distinctive feature of this Executive, alongside our police forces, whom I want to thank here today for the self- sacrifice with which they carry out their work, in often impossibile conditions and with a State that has sometimes given the impression of being more sympathetic to those who threaten our security than it was to those who risk their lives to guarantee it. Security and legality, of course, also deal with a proper management of migratory flows. According to a simple principle:in Italy, as in any other serious State , you do not enter illegally ; you can enter legally through the flow decrees.In these years of terrible inability to find the right solutions to the several migratory crisis too many men, women and children have found death at sea in the attempt of reaching Italy. Too many times we have said “never again” only to repeat it again and again. This government, therefore, wants to pursue a road little travelled till today: stopping illegal departures, finally breaking the human trafficking in the Mediterranean Sea. Our intention is still the same but if you want us not to speak about a naval blockade, I will say it like this:we are going to recover the original proposal of the European Union’s Sophia naval mission, which, in the third phase , planned and never implemented , dealt with the blockade of departures of boats from North Africa. We are going to propose it at European level, in accordance with North Africa’s authorities, followed by the creation on African territories of hotspots, run by International organizations, where we can screen asylum requests and make distinction between those who have the right to be received in Europe and those who do not have that right, as we do not intend in any way to question the right to asylum for those who escape from wars and persecutions. All we want to do, referring to the issue of immigration, is to prevent the selection of entry into Italy being made by the smugglers.
Then there will be one last thing to do:perhaps the most important one: removing the causes that induce migrants, especially the youngest, to leave their land, their cultural roots and their families to seek a better life in Europe. The next 27th , October, will mark the sixtieth anniversary of Enrico Mattei’s death, a great Italian man who was among the architects of post – war reconstruction, able to make mutually beneficial agreements with Nations all over the world.Well, I believe that Italy should be the promoter of a “Mattei’s plan for Africa”, a virtuous model of collaboration and growth between the European union and African Nations , also in order to fight worrying spread of Islamist radicalism, especially in the sub- Saharan area. And so we would like to finally recover , after years in which we preferred retreating, the strategic role that Italy has in the Mediterranean.
Let me conclude, colleagues, by thanking you , of course, for your patience. It will not be an easy navigation that one of the Government that is going to ask the confidence of Parliament , because of the weight of the choices that we will be called upon to face but also because , let us say, a political prejudice, which I often detect in the analyses that concern us. I believe, however, that is in part justified; after all, I am the first woman to reach the Presidency of the Council, I come from a political history that has been often relegated to the margins in the history of Republic and I do not arrive here in the arms of a favourable family context or thanks to important friendships; I am what the English call an “underdog”, let us say, the underdog, the one who, to succeed, must upset all the predictions. It is what I am going to do now. To twist the predictions, with the help of a good team of Ministers and Undersecretaries, with the trust and the support of those who will vote against this government because, at the end of this adventure, I will be interested in only one thing: being aware that we have done everything we could do to give Italians a better nation.
Sometimes we will succeed, sometimes we will fail but be sure we will not retrait, we will not throw in the towel, we will not betray.
The day our Government swore into the hands of the Head of the State was the liturgical memorial of John Paul II, a Pontiff, a statesman, a saint I had the honour to meet personally. He taught me something fundamental that I have always tresured: “Freedom – he said- does not consist in doing what we like but in having the right to do what we must”.
I have always been a free person . I will always be a free person and , because of that, I am going to do exactly what I must.