Will Milan’s 2015 Expo manage to open as planned? The answer is that nobody really knows. Investigations into a massive corruption scandal surrounding Expo 2015 construction works may still prevent Italy’s flagship event from going ahead. With less than a year to go, Italy is attempting to save face and sort out the mess.
Italy’s recently appointed anti-corruption czar, Raffaele Cantone, has been asked to intervene, but he says he will only do so if he is granted specific powers to allow him to fight corruption and drag the beleaguered project out of the mire. Italy’s government is hinting that it is ready to give the anti-corruption czar the powers he has requested to put the project back in track. Powers or not, whether Mr Cantone will succeed or not, remains to be seen. The situation is still very much touch and go.
Italy appears to be aware that if the 2015 Milan Expo does not proceed as planned, the nation will be left with much egg on its face, and that’s not to mention the economic damage that could result.
If the Expo 2015 project fails, Italy will lose a massive opportunity to give business in Italy an urgently needed boost.
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Despite claims to the contrary from Italy’s politicians, recent figures released by Italy’s ISTAT statistics bureau indicated that Italy’s economy has yet to exit recession. In the first quarter of 2014 Italy’s GDP shrank by 0.1% with respect to the fourth quarter of 2013. Although the contraction is not huge, when compared to the same quarter in 2013, Italy’s GDP fell 0.5 per cent.
The 2015 Milan Expo could help Italy exit what is proving to be more of a depression than a mere recession.
Will Italy actually manage to save Milan’s 2015 Expo? Watch this space.
This Italy watcher is willing to bet that Italy’s anti-corruption efforts will fizzle away to nothing if the nation’s old guard achieves victory in the forthcoming European elections.