Without solution. Mittal on the run, Jindal says no, a buyer is missing and nationalization is a gamble


In Taranto it is already evening when Giuseppe Conte finds himself in the middle of a crowd of citizens in front of the gates of the former Ilva. It is here that the premier admits, once again, that an exit strategy to ArcelorMittal's farewell is not: "I do not have the solution in my pocket, we will see in the coming days". It is the second time he has said it, but compared to the first, at the end of Wednesday's meeting with the company's top management at Palazzo Chigi, another 48 hours have passed. Above all, the ultimatum launched at the steel giant has expired. However, Mittal does not flinch from his convictions or give signs of sitting at the table. The deadlock in a story that impacts on the future of 20,000 workers is everything. The other solutions, then, fall before they are even born.

With the visit to the Tarantino plant, the premier completes the consensus search operation that touched the governing parties, CGIL, CISL and UIL, Confindustria, local authorities and finally the workers. But the evocation of the "Italian system" has remained so. The front is formed only in words, but think of different solutions. In the case of the government it is conditioned by partisan positions, like that of the 5 stars, which hold back instead of producing progress. The only idea that unites majority parties, trade unions and industrialists is that we must deal with Mittal. Even the prime minister would like negotiations, but the other party does not intend to reside at the table unless a signal arrives. And here, as in a vicious circle, we return to the conflicting visions within the government, to crossed vetoes: the restoration of the penal shield, the minimum point to get the negotiations off the ground, is still hostage to the pentastellatum.

To put it in a few words: they all evoke the negotiation with Mittal, but the Government is not able to speak with a single voice and above all to translate into a signal the possibility of dealing with the French-Indian steel giant. Thus was born the admission of Conte in front of the gates of the former Ilva who cannot contain the anger of workers and citizens. There are those who want to shut down the plant forever, but those who want the government to find a way to deal with Mittal. Everyone still wants an answer on what the government intends to do.

The impossibility of giving a signal to Mittal generates the strengthening of the government's hard line against the company in legal terms. But the dispute in court is a story that has very long times, while the factory is slowly going out. It was said of alternative solutions. A white knight cannot be seen. Jindal, who lost the race with Mittal for the award of the Pugliese plant in the final rush, paraded with a tweet. The rumor of an interest from China circulates, but it is a boatos that does not take shape and concreteness. The other hypothesis, that of nationalization, is brought into play but does not have a perspective worthy of the name. Nationalization means that the State becomes the owner, then public money to buy the plant and money of the Italians to manage everything, from the payment of salaries to the maintenance of blast furnaces. An outlay that the public finances would struggle to sustain, in addition to the risk of generating in the opposition, as in the country, a huge regurgitation against the government, guilty of using the Italians' money because unable to retain an industrial player in Taranto.

Negotiations with Mittal remain the obligatory path for the government. However, the steel giant does not retreat. There is no new proposal, as requested by Conte. The proposal is always the same: 5 thousand redundancies, downsizing of production, penal shield, stop the constraints on the blast furnace 2. And this proposal is considered unacceptable by the counterpart. Mittal is less and less motivated to retrace his steps. Quarterly accounts speak of a steel market in trouble. Today the judgment of Moody's has also arrived. The rating agency confirmed the Baa3 rating, but changed the outlook from stable to negative. The rating is at risk if the former Ilva of Taranto is not left "in a timely manner". Another element of pressure that falls on a negotiation still at the stake.

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