Italy’s Business Elite Gets a Taste of Government Intervention

Erwin Oropesa

(Bloomberg) — Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte made it clear to the country’s corporate elite that he’ll be calling the shots more often in a pandemic-stricken economy.

Conte and cabinet members showed up in force over the weekend at a gathering of financial and company leaders on the shores of Lake Como in northern Italy. Meanwhile, many executives and investors stayed away or sent deputies as a surge in coronavirus cases put a damper on the event.

“At this moment, the state cannot just be a referee,” Economic Development Minister Stefano Patuanelli said at the Ambrosetti Forum in Cernobbio. “The great transformation of production arrangements must be directed by significant public governance that sets the guidelines.”

Conte’s response portends a partial reversal of a privatization drive promoted by Mario Draghi when he was the Treasury’s top civil servant in the early 1990s. Drawing often on Cassa Depositi e Prestiti SpA,

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