The recent attacks on the Air France, must make us reflect. I do not mean trigger reflection on current news, but allow us to go backwards in time in order to understand the genesis of some decisions. It is said that Italy is a country with a short memory, and it is partially true. This is why it is worth recalling a few things at present, when hundreds of angry French employees invaded the headquarters of the airline company during a summit convened to decide on staff cuts. The director of human resources is now widely known. He was beaten up and ran away from the boardroom bare-chested, with a ripped shirt after proposing a restructuring plan that implied 2,900 redundancies.
Yet, it was Air France that just a few years ago offered to acquire Alitalia. We were not convinced of the goodness of this operation, because it was mono-hub, it had only Paris, and France is Italy’s competitor in tourism: it would have bought us so as to treat us a subordinate Country. We did not agree, and I was crucified by some environments of the Italian left because, according to them, I failed to understand. Apparently, on the European tables it was decided that Italy should work as a subordinate. Berlusconi, instead, was convinced that Alitalia needed to be kept in life as an autonomous Italian reality. This is why we suffered at the time and during the years to come the attacks of those who pointed their fingers at us as the responsible for an economic crime against workers.
Then, as everyone knows, arrived the Arabs, with a precise goal that a country which is Italy’s antagonist and competitor in tourism, such as France, could not have. It is clear that it would have drained everything in their power beyond the Alps; and at that point, in control of the transportation hubs, it would have damaged us a lot. At present, considering how the story of Air France ended, we know that even Italian professional heritage would have been squandered and a lot of people would have been left without work. Obviously, the first ones to be eliminated would have been Italian citizens, not the French. What happened today to all those who back in times pilloried us in public? I see in Air France’s story, rewinding the film of memory, the presumptuous and aggressive attitude of those who protested against what happened to Fiat. While we were working to fortify it, there were people who paid court to Volkswagen, to the point of invoking its arrival to Italy to replace Fiat, which according to some people, was dead. And when Fiat gave signs of life, it was accused of wanting to suck its workers’ blood, to close production in Italy and favour a decentralization to the United States.
The story evolved in a totally different way: at present we produce cars that are sold even in US, such as the jeep and the 500, moving to Poland the production of the Panda and recuperating the invested billions. Fiat, the only case of industrial recovery in this period of global recession.
I do not say this for the sake of controversy, but to emphasize how at crucial moments in Italian economic and social life, a well-defined cultural part usually raises walls, using the violence of calumnies and invectives, making great confusion and sometimes even extensive damage. Italy must cultivate more confidence in its own means, abilities, talents, and genius. And have the ability to look far ahead.