After mulling over the subject, today Italy’s Mario Monti led government said no to Rome making a bid to host the 2020 Olympics.
Had Italy’s Prime Minister still been Silvio Berlusconi, the story may well have been different.
Monti’s main reason for rejecting the proposed bid was simply that Italy cannot afford the expense and the risk. A wise decision and he will know full well that projected costs would be highly likely to spiral out of control, as they have done in London.
Italy cannot afford to throw cash away even if fears over a possible Italian default have been reduced to almost zero by Monti’s intervention. 2020 may seem to be a long way off, but Monti knows it is going to take a good few years for Italy’s stagnant economy to begin growing.
Some were not at all happy with the firm no to the Rome Olympics bid. “A lost opportunity for Italy”, will be one of the official comments from the disgruntled. The real reason for any bitterness is that some will be unable to exploit the Olympic building works to stuff their already bloated bank accounts with skimmed quantities of public cash.
Olympic Size Magnet for Graft
Large scale building works are a magnet for graft and corruption in Italy – which is something else Monti will be fully aware of.
A Signal to the World
Not only has Monti sent a clear signal to those expecting a Olympic size cash cow, he has also sent a message of frugality on the part of Italy to the world. A sign that Italy is in the hands of a prudent manager.
Top marks to Mario Monti for making the right decision. Now, all, he has to do is to crack on with reforms to Italy’s inflexible labor laws. Once he does that, foreign investors may begin to look at Italy in a new light. If he then cuts down Italy’s many layers of silly red tape and sorts out the slow legal system, investors may well start lining up at Italy’s doors.
Go Monti, go! The road ahead is still long, though.
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