Is the Italian Mezzogiorno in Line with Other Objective 1 Regions in Europe?
The Italian Mezzogiorno, consisting historically of eight regions,1 has contained Objective 1 regions since the beginning of the Community’s cohesion policy in 1989. Even before that year, the Italian South as a whole (rather than the regions as distinct institutions) was the recipient of an extensive national development policy that began in the immediate post-war period. In 1950 Italy inaugurated its ambitious drive to develop the South by creating with law 646 the Cassa per opere straordinarie di pubblico interesse nell’Italia meridionale (Casmez) or “Fund for extraordinary projects of public interest in southern Italy”. As was the case with the EU’s cohesion policy, the primary goal of the Italian national policy was to reduce the gap that differentiated socio-economic levels in terms of wealth, levels of consumption, and employment opportunities present in southern Italy from those that existed in the rest of the country. Reflecting the existing thinking on regional policies at the time that conceived regional development as an instrument to stimulate the growth of specific economic sectors — e.g., manufacturing industry, agricultural production, etc.-, the Casmez was given the responsibility of administrating a national development policy for key economic sectors of the South. The policy was not targeted toward specific regions. Instead, it was sectorially oriented-i.e., it focussed on specific economic sectors as a means of spurring the overall socio-economic development of the southern areas.
KeywordsSocial Capital Southern Region Organize Crime Employment Rate Public Investment
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