Crosetto: «Public administration, away with the bureaucrats capable only of saying no. Or Italy won’t start again”

Minister Crosetto, let’s start with the budget law that has just landed in the Senate. The opposition claims that it lacks vision and contains many tips. What does he answer?
“That resources were scarce. If we hadn’t had inflation this high since the 80s, if we had the money that Conte and Draghi had, if the price of gas hadn’t been so high, everything would have been easier. And we would have had more opportunities to invest. But to those who claim that we have given tips and that wheelchairs have been invented, I reply that unlike them we have not wasted a single euro. We have worked for growth».

The path of the maneuver was bumpy. Is this due to inexperience or, as Mollicone said, due to the absence of the Accounting and Mef technicians at crucial moments?
«The first problem was the timing: Giorgetti had just three days to put the maneuver in place. The second is that of a ruling class in the ministries and in every sector of the bureaucratic machine that needs to be changed in depth. We cannot think of implementing new and different policies if you keep officials in key posts who have old mentalities or serve ideologies of which we represent the alternative. And then there is a problem of the parliamentary class: as happened in 2018 for the 5Stelle, a little inexperience has paid off ».

It seems to understand that you will proceed to a massive spoil system. Is that so?
The deadline expires at the end of January. It is certainly not easy to replace existing bureaucracies. Because some people are of great value. And because the administrative machine must go on and you can’t stop immediately sending away officials you don’t trust or who have different ideas from yours. It takes some time. But we must have the courage to make these choices, while in some ministries there is a fear of making decisions that must instead be taken to get the country back on track. It takes courage. We need to cut some chains that block Italy’s development with a machete: now it takes 17 years to carry out a public work, they will have to become four or five at the most».

Against whom does he want to use the machete?
«Against those in public administrations who have stood out for their ability to say no and waste time. If we don’t get rid of these people, we’re doing damage to the country. And we didn’t win the elections to damage Italy. Plus, unlike the others, we may change because we haven’t done anything for someone to blackmail us. We have never done any business and we have not promised them anything. In short, we don’t have a past that makes it difficult for us to intervene: those who want to save Italy from a deadly decline will have to be kept, for the others we need to have the courage to change. Point. I am sure that Giorgia Meloni thinks like me ».

Its core business is defense. Meloni said that “military spending is indispensable for being free and defending the national interest”. Is there an arms race?
«Defense is a much more complex concept than rearmament, as a superficial person like Giuseppe Conte would instead decline. And if it is true that Defense has to do with the military capabilities of nations, it is equally true that it includes the ability to forge international alliances. To consolidate relations with the USA, Africa, Asia, the Middle East. Defense means building an internal and external security framework. And then the military challenges have reached such significant dimensions that they cannot be accomplished alone, but within the Euro-Atlantic framework”.

Italy spends just over 1.5% of its GDP on armaments, while the agreement within NATO requires spending of 2%, with an increase of about 8 billion. Will you move in this direction?
«The commitment to reach 2% dates back to 2014 and has been confirmed by all the successive governments, including Count one and Count two. The only point to clarify is how soon we will reach this 2%. I hope to fulfill the commitment, based on financial compatibility. In any case, it is not just a question of military investments, but of defense expenditure which also includes personnel, infrastructure and maintenance. All, with the exception of a few nations, such as the USA, Russia, China and perhaps France, in recent decades have built a system that is at best ready for international missions. So 15-20 thousand soldiers ready to rotate in employment were enough. Instead, we have realized that we may need to really defend ourselves, so we will have to start from men, from the average age of our soldiers, from the organization and structure of our Armed Forces. It is useless to buy an extra ship, which is needed to control a strategic asset like the Mediterranean, if you don’t have the sailors to put on it, or to buy a new plane if you can’t train pilots or keep it efficient. In short, the armaments node is one of the many on which the defense of a nation is built”.

Meloni has heard Zelensky calling for the supply of air defense systems. Will you provide them?
«We have not yet begun the construction of the sixth decree. Ukraine has certainly been asking for support against air attacks on civilian targets for months: hospitals, schools, power plants. If it is possible we will certainly help them to defend themselves: Russia has crossed a border that it should not have crossed».

Why “if it will be possible”?
«Because the supply must be compatible with the possibility of having these weapons and giving them to Kiev in good working order. You don’t find rockets in the supermarket like a jar of Nutella, they are complex systems that require long production times. You can’t say: “okay, tomorrow I’ll go and buy a hundred missiles”. They are not here. So if we give air defense systems to Ukraine, we have to take them from our stocks and we have to do it without disposing of ourselves and with the certainty of quality”.

New weapons for Ukraine, green light from the government: aid until 2023. “Commitment kept”

Contrasting signals are arriving from the Ukrainian front. Putin talks about peace every other day and instead continues to bomb. How long do you expect this war to last?
“I hope it ends as soon as possible. We must build dialogue and take any opening seriously. We need to talk to all the actors. And I think that the role of Meloni and Italy may not be marginal: Giorgia, in the international appointments held in just two months, has managed to obtain credibility, centrality and respect. Requirements that must be exploited to create a path of dialogue for peace”.

The Russian Foreign Minister, Lavrov, has returned to talking about the nuclear threat. Is the risk real?
«The use of tactical nuclear power is foreseen by Russia. For us it is inconceivable, but for Moscow yes if you pass a point of no return, if they risk defeat, it is. In short, the danger potentially exists, although very improbable ».

There is also internal controversy to deal with. The president of the Senate La Russa and the undersecretary Isabella Rauti celebrated the birth of the MSI and the opposition rose up. What do you think?
«The path indicated by Meloni is that of a large and modern conservative party. A path that has allowed us to grow and win. Giorgia has always talked about the future and stopped talking about the past some time ago».


Crosetto: «Public administration, away with the bureaucrats capable only of saying no. Or Italy won’t start again”