Gros-Pietro: Southern Italy crucial for Europe-Mediterranean cooperation

The image accompanying the News on the President's speech at the conference "Southern Agenda 2030: Where Europe meets the Mediterranean" organized by the Merita Foundation, portrays Gian Maria Gros-Pietro

“Southern Italy – with its privileged geographical position and rich cultural history – can and must, now more than ever, play a fundamental role in fostering cooperation and development between Europe and the shores of the Mediterranean” said Gian Maria Gros-Pietro in his introductory remarks at the opening of the conference “Agenda South 2030: Where Europe meets the Mediterranean” organised by Fondazione Merita.

In his speech, Gros-Pietro highlighted some aspects of the often unrecognised potential of Southern Italy, which Intesa Sanpaolo supports through a variety of instruments and initiatives “out of an awareness that when the South grows, the whole country grows”:

  • “The South is by no means the industrial wasteland it is sometimes falsely portrayed as: if it were a country, it would rank seventh among manufacturing countries in Europe by number of companies, with a marked concentration in key sectors such as aerospace, automotive, agri-food , apparel and fashion and pharmaceuticals.
  • “Southern Italy’s economic fabric is strengthening: at the end of 2023, there were over 408,000 active joint stock companies, about 30% of the Italian total. Big business is present with about 60 companies, mainly in Campania and Puglia. There is also a significant presence of innovative companies, which Intesa Sanpaolo supports, for example, through the Innovation Hub, the ESG Workshop, Agritech and Terra Next.
  • “The Mediterranean is a logistical and energy hub in a constantly evolving geopolitical scenario, as shown by the tensions in the Red Sea: its central economic role is destined to grow, because it is the crossroads of three continents – Asia, Africa and Europe – which are home to the majority of the world's population and an extraordinary wealth of civilisations and cultures.
  • “Southern Italian ports, with their short-haul routes, can play a key role in the reshoring process. Energy is a growth sector in Southern Italy, with around 40% of Italy's clean energy concentrated here. The South has significant potential for the development of hydrogen hubs and can serve as a link between North Africa and Europe in energy supply chains.
  • “Tourism and the environment are powerful sources of profound transformation for the South: its development requires transversal factors such as training, sustainability, innovation, digitalisation and the social economy. Investments are needed, and they must not have only the NRRP as their source: they need to find support in the new cohesion policy and in the single SEZ, which Intesa Sanpaolo has supported from the outset with specific financing.
  • “Overall, the South has access to over €210 billion to grow. Through its regional departments and corporate initiatives, and on the basis of the analyses carried out by SRM, Intesa Sanpaolo is determined to use all appropriate tools to support the region's economy.”

The conference “Agenda South 2030: Where Europe meets the Mediterranean” was hosted at the Gallerie d'Italia-Naples.

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