The government rejects the “blackmail” of Atlantia


“We don’t give in to blackmail.” The public position of the government and of the majority on the threat of Atlantia to block the 14.5 billion investment if the state guarantee on the 1.25 billion loan requested from the banks is not recognized. Unanimism that breaks and disperses in rivulets when the spotlight turns off, and positions multiply and internal struggles rage.

We need to briefly explain the tangled issue. After the first news out in the press, Stefano Buffagni, deputy minister M5s for Economic Development, on the possible request by the Benetton-controlled company to request a loan guaranteed by the state as required by the Development decree replied: “Asking is legitimate it is courtesy: no thanks “. Now, it’s a fact that the final decision is up to Sace, who manages the game together with the Ministry of Economy, technically cutting Buffagni out of the game. But it is true that 5 stars is the most influential voice of the majority party when it comes to such issues. Not only in the Movement, but also in the other executive parties, yesterday’s press release from the company, which a source of government of the Democratic Party defines as “at least broken up”, is directly connected to that issue.

It was Giancarlo Cancelleri who started the dance: “This is a blackmail logic. We have only wasted time, I turn to the other majority forces, in Iv to the Democratic Party, we are wasting time, we withdraw our concessions, this is not serious people “. The deputy minister pentastellato to Infrastructures also has one for the holder of his ministry, Paola De Micheli: “Minister De Micheli has this dossier where he has done together with Aspi [Autostrade per l’Italia, n.d.r.] a kind of negotiation. Nobody knows this dossier, neither the M5s nor other government forces, nor Conte. ” A stiletto due – according to sources of his own party – to the strong tension between the minister and deputy in terms of infrastructure: “Relationships are at a minimum”. And which contains an inaccuracy which is also a message. Because the aforementioned dossier was not shared with the M5s representatives, but it is on Conte’s table that he must make a decision on the possible revocation or, as in reality it is the premier’s orientation, review of the motorway concessions. A decision that, thanks also to the coronavirus emergency, latita, a delay that, according to Huffpost learns, would have irritated and not a little the owner of the dicastery.

Cancelleri therefore keeps Conte out of the public attack, but to many in the 5 stars the explicit quotation seemed a transversal message: just take time, proceed with the revocation. A position that is basically isolated within the government. It is no mystery that Italy lives against it, and the Democratic Party also pushes for a revision of the concession and not for the revocation. In the last few hours, the voice of Leu has also been added to the 5-star entry, by Nicola Fratoianni’s mouth: “When someone blackmailes, the only answer is the revocation”.

There are two issues that intertwine around the story itself. “Atlantia has put the gun on the table, try to force your hand,” says a source close to the file. At the end of June the deadlines for challenging the provision of the Milleproroghe decree which substantially cancels the penalties in case of termination of the contract between the state and Aspi expire. A move, that of the appeal, that the company would not want to pursue, but to avoid which it should reach an agreement, a very complex matter for which the times begin to get narrow. The government has assured that the response will come by mid-June, a way to further narrow the time window and put Atlantia in a squeeze.

But the 5 stars use the loan issue for another reason too. Companies with a turnover of over one and a half billion do not enjoy the facilitated procedure. Before the issuance of the guarantee by Mef Sace, he starts a supplementary investigation. A negotiating phase which also includes the commitment to limit the amount lent to production activities located in Italy. The pentastellate are convinced that Atlantia would aim at a quick yes of the guarantee as an element to strengthen its negotiating position, since it would be a mess if the state committed itself to money actually destined for the company that controls Autostrade, only then revoke the concession, that is, missing one of the purposes for which they are requested.

The solution is still far ahead. It remains that the position taken by Atlantia has compacted the government on the unacceptability of the do ut des: from 5 stars to the Democratic Party by the mouth of Orlando, passing through the Ministry of Infrastructure and that of the Economy is a whole chorus: “We do not give in to the blackmail “.

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