Maneuver 2024, Bonomi: “Wedge-cutting priorities and investments”

The appeal of the president of Confindustria

Forward on reforms that combine governability and the ability to give voice to civil society, avoiding the mistake of divisive choices. Forward on reforms to make the country more efficient and inclusive. It is the heart of the appeal that Carlo Bonomi, president of Confindustrialaunches from the stage of the industrialists’ assembly, the last of his mandate, in front of an audience where the highest officials of the State sit, the government practically in full force, over 1,500 entrepreneurs and representatives of the world of work.

“We have decided not to express observations on the state of the economy, on the Pnrr, or on the upcoming budget measure. We do so and will continue to do so in other forums”, Bonomi stated. And, in fact, the cornerstones of his report touch on the themes of international challenges, Europe, Italian businesses and reforms and the title of the report is “business, work and democracy: the path to the Constitution”. But the number one industrialist will then talk about manoeuvre, pnrr and highly topical issues with journalists in a press conference at the end of the meeting, after the large hall of the Santa Cecilia Auditorium has emptied, the traditional location where the meeting has resumed.

Bonomi has no doubts about the priority of the maneuver. ”We need to put more money in Italians’ pockets. Labor taxes must be cut. The economic cut that the government made during the year must become structural with the budget law”, he underlines. And “the resources can be found with a recomposition of spending of 4-5%. Businesses are ready to give up tax expenditure of 14 billion if all these resources go to cutting the tax wedge”. Furthermore, “we must work on reviving investments, which have collapsed in recent quarters, we must stimulate both public and private”. Bonomi then presses on the Pnrr: “We said that the financial allocations are important but the reforms to make the country more efficient and inclusive are more important. But they are still. Something has been done but we must move forward”.

There is the hot topic of the rule on extra profits. “When we talk about extra profits we talk about gross operating margin. It would be a matter of putting a tax on a budget line. Maybe I studied less than some but I have never read about extra profits in books, just as I have never read about extra break-evens or extra losses” , he notes. “Those who have made greater earnings – she comments – can contribute more to the fiscal space of the State as long as there is a purpose. Does it go into current public spending or do we make a dedicated intervention in favor of account holders?”. No less hot is the topic of expensive flights. Bonomi recalls, first of all, that “we are in a single European market. When you carry out these interventions, you affect the single market. If you intervene to guarantee territorial continuity, I believe it can be managed, but intervening forcefully like this is counterproductive. Then it is it is clear that Ryanair’s response cannot be heard, because institutional respect must always be respected”.

The assessment that Bonomi reiterates in his report on the minimum wage is clear: “The mere introduction of a legal minimum wage, not accompanied by a set of measures aimed at enhancing representation, would not resolve either the great issue of poor work, nor the scourge of contractual dumping, nor would it give greater strength to collective bargaining”. Then comes the reminder on the workplace safety front. We need “clear and simple rules and prevention”, says Bonomi. “Our vision – the only one that makes sense to us – is that it is necessary to avoid accidents by enhancing a participatory logic – he underlines – a logic that unites in actions and related responsibilities, not that divides and opposes, a legacy of old antagonisms of class”.

“We have always – assures Bonomi – felt the responsibility to contribute to removing the disparities that hinder widespread well-being and we support the principles of equality, inclusion and solidarity”. And Confindustria “recognizes Democracy as a universal value and the Constitution as a guiding star. These are achievements to be preserved and which require care, cohesion, moral strength from all of us: the institutions, the actors of civil society, the economic world”.

The number one industrialist then claims that “indispensable fundamental rule, which strictly binds Confindustria to be autonomous, non-partisan and non-governmental, to judge the measures taken only on the merits”. No evaluation, therefore, of the institutional reform schemes advanced in recent months by the parties, regarding the form of State (differentiated autonomy) and the form of Government (presidentialism or premiership)”.

But the hope of entrepreneurs “is for reforms that link governability and the ability to give voice and representation to the many requests that civil society is capable of expressing”. “We ask – indicates Bonomi – rules and political choices capable of reconciling the efficiency and effectiveness of public behavior with the stimuli to resourcefulness, innovation, the ability to do, do well and do good”. And, he insists, “we insist, in short, on the need for our country to focus on competitiveness and social inclusion, productivity and solidarity, even at an institutional level”. Hence the final appeal to politics: “Be careful not to make the same mistake as always. Avoid planning interventions on the form of State and the form of government developed and inspired by a divisive dialectic, alien by definition from the seriousness with which to propose and judge institutional systems that are so relevant to the democracy and freedom of our country”.

If today is the last report as president, Bonomi still has 9 months of mandate ahead of him. He himself remembered this in the meeting with the press. “You can have a baby in 9 months,” he jokes. “But, in any case, I have no pebbles in my shoe to remove”, he assures. “It was a difficult, complex period, it’s not up to me to say whether we worked well or not but we lost a bit of competitiveness,” he says. There are some regrets: “In 2020 I proposed a Pact for Italy, there were many issues that we could address together, accidents at work and contracts that were not made, today we are discussing a minimum wage yes or no , I’m sorry because it was a missed opportunity for the country”, he concludes.