Frederick Bolkestein , aka Frits, turned 88. He will hardly be able to see fully applied the European directive that bears his name. At least not in Italy. The Services Directive, this is its correct name, which aims to regulate the free circulation of services and their suppliers among the member states of the European Community, was implemented in 2010 by the Italian government. But from year to year its application has been postponed. The last postponement was ordered in 2018 (Budget Law 2019) by the yellow-green government: it will not come into force in Italy before 2034.
Movimento 5 stelle and Lega will have to prove themselves wrong if – as it seems in the very recent intentions expressed by Mario Draghi– the four-wheel drive government will want to anticipate its expiration, inserting in the awaited reform of competition (among the requests of Europe to disburse the resources of the NRP) the rules of equality of all European companies and professionals in accessing the markets of Union: a German or French company must not suffer disadvantages if it wants to operate in Italy only because it has its headquarters in another country of the Union. This also applies to an Italian company in France, of course.
At the time of the launch of the European standard (between 2004 and 2006) it was not just Italy that got in the way. In France, the fear of the “Polish plumber” was unleashed, which would have destroyed the equilibrium of the French artisanal labor market.
The wave of protest rebounded almost everywhere, triggering protests from street vendors and bathing establishment managers especially in Italy. In fact, the Directive establishes that all public concessions, i.e. state-owned assets, such as beaches or other entities, such as municipal sports facilities, municipal covered markets or sidewalks and streets occupied by street vendors, can be granted to private individuals only for specified amounts of time, at the end of which the concession must be publicly tendered. Those who for decades have enjoyed almost automatic renewals and are opposed to tenders because they fear losing their jobs or their investments. Or more simply does not accept the idea of ‚Äč‚Äčlosing a position income, acquired over time and due to different opacities,
One of the provisions of the Directive establishes, for example, that tenders for the management of public services must have clear rules and receive international publicity. The goal, in addition to favoring the free market, is to ensure the best service to customers. Tenders should include not only adequate and updated fees, but above all guarantees of the quality of the service.
Competition must be good for the consumer, rather than favoring profits or rents; especially when these and those derive from the use of common goods: the beach or sidewalks belong to everyone. And whoever makes it a business opportunity must be called upon to guarantee quality. It would be curious to worry about the managers of the 30,000 bathing establishments, more than we worry about the 9 million tourists who flock to the 7,500 kilometers of Italian coasts every summer.
Very often, in calling for the reform of competition, we risk losing sight of the final objective: the consumer, who has the right to have a bathhouse equipped with always renewed toilets and sunbeds, beach services adapted to the needs of consumers. The same applies to those who frequent stalls on public streets, cannot be served without adequate attention to safety, decency and quality and the possibility of paying by credit card or debit card, or with a mobile phone. How many Pos are there in the street markets
The competition reform was expected by the end of July, now we are talking about the end of September. But we’re getting there. It is difficult to meet the new deadline on the agenda. To date, it is difficult to imagine whether or not the question will be brought to the Council of Ministers. It is true that the imminence of the administrative vote could still slow down the declarations of intent. It would be scandalous to see yet another postponement of a provision that has the sole purpose of creating transparency and favoring consumers.
Let us not forget that the awaited reform of competition should erode all established powers, small or large economic monarchies that do not only concern bumpers or bathing establishments, but all public services and their respective local management companies. From ATAC (for those in Rome) to taxi drivers (also for those in Milan). The culture of service should precede business, allowing it only to those who are able to guarantee quality objectives, raising the bar more and more, respecting the ever-changing needs of consumers.

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