Periodically, the European Union provides public funds to the EU States for investments in important projects. A recent EU Commission report shows that, of the countries receiving these funds, Italy is among the ones returning most of them to the EU. The Bel Paese, in fact, has returned to the EU 66% of the funds received while the European average per country is about 34%.
Due to the lack of acceptable projects and several mistakes on grant applications, Italy for the period ending in 2014 "lost" about 4.1 billion Euro out of the 6.2 billion total assigned to the country. According to the site of the Italian Regions, the region of Calabria was the "worst" in utilizing EU funds.
Here are some Italian projects that could have benefited from the investment of these funds:
- POMPEII AND HERCULANEUM - As we know, the ancient sites of Pompeii and Herculaneum, close to Naples, might be a huge source of earnings for Italy. The British Museum made a successful 3D movie about them and sold out a Pompeii exhibit with just a fraction of the old artifacts from this historic site. Italy can showcase the entire city, so why not investing in better site management and on improving transportation, hotels, restaurants and other infrastructures around this historical site?
- JOB OPPORTUNITIES - Even if a lot of Italian "brains" are launching startups to try to overcome the job crisis, Italy is facing the worst unemployment rate since 1977. Helping the growth of a solid startup ecosystem by creating events, new grants for universities, schools, hospitals, theaters and other institutions would give startups new markets to do research and test/sell their products.
- BROADBAND - Sometime ago the Italian CEO of Facebook, Luca Colombo, told me how mobile is the fastest growing trend in the digital sector. The expansion of E-commerce, communications, and the new economy overall is based on the increase in use of smartwatches, phablets or similar. Since Italy, except for some areas, is very slow in providing Internet access to its population, this could be another field where massive investments are a must. A faster and reliable WI-FI access is a way to encourage people to use more online services, that means more business transactions and a faster growing economy.
- PORTS IMPROVEMENTS - Italy has about 5700 miles of coastline, and our cruise ships are the most innovative and appreciated in the world. We should invest in improving the conditions of existing ports and building new ones. This would not only be a source of construction jobs for thousands of people but also another source of tourism revenue.