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Berlin: the italian economy past and present: conference at the Italian Embassy

An examination of Italy’s economic history in its first 150 years of history to discover more about its strong points, and a dialogue with our German partners at this difficult time for the euro-zone. These were the goals of the Italian Embassy in Berlin in hosting the conference on “Italy and the World Economy, 1861-2011”. The conference, organised with the Bank of Italy, presented a study analysing how the Italian economy has responded over its history to the challenges posed by the economic cycle, the international markets and globalisation. The study was conducted by a team of Italian and international researchers.

In his opening address, Ambassador Michele Valensise underscored the importance of analysing and discussing Italy’s economic history, not least to better illustrate the structural features of our economic fabric and its strong points. Moreover, added the Ambassador, dialogue with Italian and German institutions, scholars and businesses is both highly relevant and highly topical. This is in light of the recent financial tensions in the euro-zone, the leading role played by Germany and the profound reforms recently passed in Italy.

The General Manager of the Bank of Italy, Fabrizio Saccomanni, noted that the study shows that Italy has the economic, financial and human resources to play its part in tackling the crisis currently affecting Europe. A crisis that needs to be handled in an environment of strong European cooperation.

The opening speeches were followed by a discussion that compared the characteristics and developments of the Italian and German economies. Many of our economy’s key structural features were examined: both positive (strong entrepreneurial spirit, success of the business cluster model, etc) and negative (north-south divide, low investment in human capital, etc).

The event was a great success and attracted over 120 guests. These included Bernd Heitzer, the Secretary of State from the Federal Economic Ministry; a number of authoritative members of German institutions; professors and experts in economic history; and Italian and German representatives of the business, banking and media communities.

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