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Italy TrendChart Country Report 2001- Sept - Innova

Italy TrendChart Country Report 2001- Sept - Innova

Executive Summary

Executive Summary Elections in May 2001 saw Silvio Berlusconi and his centre-right coalition, Casa delle Libertà (the House of Freedoms), emerge as the winner. He is the Prime Minister of the 59th post war Government. He succeeded the leftist Ulivo government of Giuliano Amato, having previously been Prime Minister for eight months in 1994. The opposition in Parliament is primarily made up of the parties of the Ulivo alliance. This includes the left democrats, the Margherita alliance made up of four small parties and the three parties of the left-green spectrum. Francesco Rutelli, former Mayor of Rome and Prime Ministerial candidate of the centre-left parties, is the speaker of the Ulivo opposition. The Communist renewal party (Rifondazione Comunista) is the most important opposition party that does not belong to the Ulivo alliance. The Berlusconi Government's 2001 election promises are quite ambitious. Prime Minister Berlusconi summarises the political goals of his Government in five missions: reorganisation of the Government apparatus; reform of the institutional architecture of the country; simplification of laws and regulations; ten-year plan for large-scale infrastructure measures; development plan for southern Italy. The first initiatives promoted by the new Government concerning the Italian system of governance and innovation policy are: the designation of a new Minister of Innovation and New Technologies, Lucio Stanca; the merging of the Ministry for University, Scientific and Technological Research (MURST) and the Ministry of Education. The new Ministry of Education, University and Research (MIUR) is headed by Letizia Moratti. In addition, the “One Hundred Days Programme” recently approved by the new Government (28th June 2001) contains some measures for the development of the new economy and innovation: New rules on intellectual property: the Programme foresees some important changes in the rules governing patents for industrial inventions. These changes are aimed at stimulating research activity by giving inventors who are employed by universities or public bodies, all the rights to their invention, plus a percentage of the proceeds from industrial exploitation. Measures for the enterprise creation: aimed at supporting people that have an idea for a new company (S.p.A. or S.r.l.) but lack the necessary capital, the rules now allow the annual payment of social capital to be replaced by an insurance policy providing the same guarantees. 1

Fiscal provisions for new investment: in a bid to encourage new investment by entrepreneurs and autonomous workers (even in the field of professional training) the Programme introduced tax exemptions on reinvested profits. Even the DPEF, the Economic and Financial Planning Document 2002-2006 approved by the Council of Ministers on 16th July, contains some measures for Research, Innovation and the Information Society: The Government plans to increase the level of expenditure (as a percentage of GDP) in order to reach the European average. It also intends to provide resources to individual initiatives according to a range of transparency and validity criteria. Careful attention will also be paid to the evaluation of research results. A key element in this strategy will be the new rules concerning the intellectual property rights of public sector researchers. The Government will support the national research centres and help establish links between them and the enterprise community. Their aim is to increase Italian presence in high tech fields such as aeronautics, space, defence, computer science, energy, telematics, biotechnology and new materials. Chapter 3 of the DPEF, entitled "Economic Policy 2002-2006: a project for the whole legislature", contains a programme of intervention aimed at the development of the Information Society. Sectors to receive attention include: human capital training, research and technological innovation, technology transfer, computerisation of public administration, health, the administration of justice and the new economy. In his presentation to the Chamber of Deputies, Minister Moratti (MIUR) said he anticipated an increase in public expenditure on R&D from the present 0.6% (of GDP) to 1% over the next five years. Total national expenditure was also expected to rise from the current figure of approximately 1.1% to 2%. 2

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