Expo 2030, Massolo: “One month to vote, choose Rome for democracy not for interest”

The assignment is November 28th. “Whatever happens, the ‘method’ remains, grateful to the government and Mattarella.”

“Voting for Rome means voting for ourselves and not for the interest of an individual, it is a vote for the European democracies united by the ambition of making the international community progress together”. Thirty days before the General Assembly of the Bie which will have to decide on the assignment of Expo 2030, choosing between Rome, Riyadh and Busan, Giampiero Massolo, president of the Committee promoting the candidacy of the capital, takes stock with the Adnkronos of the work since done here, “we have a clear conscience”, and explains why Rome should win the game in a context that has never been so full of geopolitical meanings. Even more so in recent weeks, with the crisis in the Middle East and the stop to the normalization of relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia, which, according to some, could shift votes: “It’s one of those issues whose importance I wouldn’t overestimate – he comments – while it could influence some individual decisions.”

He then assures that whatever happens on November 28th “the method will remain”, and says he is “grateful” to the government and President Sergio Mattarella for their support. “It is clear that one month after such a demanding vote, in which 182 countries will express their opinions by secret ballot – Massolo began – making predictions on the outcome would be risky. We have on our side the trust of a clear conscience, in the sense that we have done and will continue to do everything possible right up until the end to get as many votes as we need.” What will end on November 28th in Paris “is a very uncertain campaign, because over the course of these two years it has taken on geopolitical meanings that other Expos have not had and do not have”, underlines the former ambassador, former general secretary of the Farnesina and former director of Dis.

On the one hand there is Mohammed bin Salman’s Saudi Arabia, which has made Riyadh’s candidacy “an existential battle, having linked the Expo to its ‘Vision 2030’ aimed at affirming its vision of the country and making it an instrument of modernization and promotion and to affirm and sustain its position of pre-eminence in the kingdom”, explains Massolo.

On the other hand there is South Korea, where the government “won the elections on very aggressive and identifying themes and accents, which has moved in a very determined way the country’s mega companies whose dimensions are not comparable to the European ones, not to mention the Italian ones”, observes the president of the promoting Committee, thus underlining “the very geopolitical connotation of the competition”. Between an Arab world that “has the ambition to evolve and modernize and a South Korea that wants to strengthen its role as a bulwark in the South China Sea” against Beijing’s aims, in a global context increasingly dominated by “middle powers wealthy and assertive”.

Between the two opposing visions, which both fight like “an existential battle”, Italy, like “the European democracies, has two ambitions: the first – claims Massolo – is to make the our part in a framework of international relations that develops not only on the basis of the interest of the individual, but in a more harmonious way and to demonstrate that by working together we can advance the international community”. The second is to use this opportunity “to improve one’s ability to create a system and enrich the network of international relationships, offering other countries access to the single European market, lasting collaborations and not episodic meetings”.

The former ambassador is therefore keen to underline a point: “The unforeseen consensus” that has arrived in our country in recent months, “public declarations from very different nations such as the United States and Brazil, representatives of opposite latitudes and approaches, the North and South of the world”.

“Which – he comments – converge and support Rome’s candidacy and the quality of its project, the best, as also recognized by the BIE during its inspection, from the point of view of the coherence of the theme, its architectural declination and its progress the city, the region and Italy as a whole”.

But whatever happens on November 28, when the Bureau international des expositions (Bie) meets to decide who will be awarded the 2030 Expo, “the method will remain”. In these 30 days “we will continue to work with the same unity of purpose among all the subjects involved: institutions, committees, companies, universities, which we have demonstrated so far”, assures Massolo. And he explains: the ‘Expo method’ “will also be useful in the future and has so far made it possible to align institutions, strengthen public-private partnerships, align companies and the academic world, produce a bid file/masterplan recognized as the best, obtain the consensus of very different countries from the north and south of the world such as the United States and Brazil, as well as the European institutions”. And for this “credit must be given to all those involved: government, promoting committee, private individuals, city, region”.

In particular, according to the former ambassador, it was fundamental “to share, step by step, all our actions with the government to which I am grateful, and with the President of the Republic Sergio Mattarella, to whom I am equally grateful for his support “.

Among other things, concludes Massolo, “Expo offered many lessons, starting from the sympathy and positive tension that surrounds this difficult undertaking in the country, despite the awareness of the difficulties and fierce competition” from “wealthy and assertive medium powers” , and where “the size of the budgets and mega companies” involved in the projects, and “the ways of using them to obtain consensus” are of important importance.