The South is only now discovering integrated investments

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They are called ITI, Integrated Territorial Investments, and they are a development tool for use by local communities. An instrument foreseen by the European Commission which focuses on participatory local development. A tool that is well known and used abroad and in some regions of Northern Italy but still unknown, one might say, in the South. The ITI, according to the definition of the European Union, «is a tool for the implementation of territorial strategies of integrated type. This is not an intervention nor a sub-priority of an operational programme. Rather, the ITI allows Member States to implement operational programs across the board and to draw on funds from different priority axes of one or more operational programs to ensure the implementation of an integrated strategy for a specific territory.” After all, it is a challenge that the Commission launches to the local ruling classes.

The experts at Cisa Consulting, a company that deals with high-level consultancy for Public Administrations as technological and financial advisors, know something about this. They have been working on this front for years and are now also working on this topic in a couple of areas of the South. (see the articles alongside. Among the EU countries, Italy is not among those with the best performances: according to the data processed and disseminated by Cisa, in first place in Europe is Germany with 21 integrated territorial investments followed by Spain with 12 ITIs, France and Poland who have started 9 and Italy with 8 (at least according to the Cisa census) together with Finland and Romania. A curiosity: in this ranking, with six integrated territorial investments, there is also the United Kingdom which managed to seize the opportunity before its exit from Europe. The data regarding Italy is still uncertain because our country was the last to activate them but now it seems on the right path to recover also for the interest that has been created on multiple fronts. Some even imagined that integrated territorial investments could be useful for accelerating the spending of Pnrr funds.

But it is on the next programming of EU funds that the game is being played out also because the regions have finally understood the advantages. Meanwhile, there are those who have understood that the ITIs can also be useful in order not to return funds to Brussels: in Sicily, for example, the Integrated Territorial Investments will allow a good part of the funds from the previous programming which risked being lost to be spent. And again in Sicily there is a construction site open in the province of Trapani and involves almost all the municipalities in the area. Thus, what Lombardy has planned but has so far failed to do would be done in Trapani. in short, today there is a clear reversal of trend: «In the previous planning some regions had expressly prohibited the adoption of tools of this type – says the director of Cisa Giuseppe Lombardini – except Campania which instead had expressly foreseen them but was unable to activate them”. And now with the project that concerns the province of Salerno (see adjacent article) it could become a case study not only in Italy. «It is a tool – says Lombardini – which can bring more resources to the territories. The secret of this tool is that it starts from the bottom and brings the territory’s infrastructural needs upwards. The important thing is that no cathedrals are created in the desert. It has been understood that scattered resources are of little use: having projects from the territories responds to precise needs as long as there is a clear idea on how to manage the infrastructures. It is no coincidence that Brussels demands the signature of mayors in a framework program agreement.”

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