Culture and politics: In Italy it is a question of bureaucracy

The code word from the Ministry of Culture is efficiency. In order to meet the PNRR deadlines, it is in fact the government itself that is reducing its procedures. But all this says a lot in terms of the modalities of Italian politics in terms of culture and beyond

Photo by Viktor Talashuk via Unsplash

The new publication of the guidelines on preventive archeology could in a way be a new definition of the concept of bureaucracy. Namely: when the government needs the government to sign a decree requiring the government to be quick.
But let us continue in order: In the general series of Official Gazette of 14 April, the decree of the President of the Council of Ministers of 14 February 2022 was inserted, containing the approval of the guidelines of the procedure for verification of archaeological interest and identification of procedures simplified . Without going into the details of the individual provisions, there is one point in this decree that may deserve special attention: it is paragraph 6 of Article 3 – Deadlines for carrying out the procedure. In fact, this piece determines that I the specified deadlines may be reduced by one third in the case of interventions included in the national recovery and resilience plan;.


In general, this provision is part of the numerous measures that support the PNRR in terms of simplification, a necessary condition for itself to hope that the deadlines imposed by the plan only suggest a reasonable delay. Given the importance of the subject, it is therefore a necessary and more than usable simplification. That said, however, it is inevitable that such a forecast raises issues of a general nature, linked to the timing necessary to be able to perform the intended procedures correctly, with respect to human timing.
Because when the President of the Council of Ministers in his own decree decides that in order to properly carry out the interventions envisaged by the PNRR, it is necessary to intervene directly by imposing maximum limits on a ministry’s procedures, it means that something must necessarily be corrected.
The question is, of course, delicate: the PNRR, and above all compliance with the deadlines, represents a priority for the economic and infrastructural development of our country. And as such, it must be respected. As a priority, it is also correct that the work of our country at this moment can not consist of complete revolution, but of necessary adjustments to ensure that the priority is respected.
However, the questions of government action also help to understand what the major and minor challenges in our economic and institutional system are. That supervision sometimes takes a long time is certainly not news from the last hour, and the proof that the relationship between the amount of bureaucratic work and available staff is completely inappropriate is a scoop.
These are elements we know and to which we have not yet found answers in the many reforms of the ministry: neither in terms of staffing nor competence, nor faster procedural appropriations. It’s a bit like when a car has a minor problem: the car keeps going, and if we have to make small movements, we know we can use it; But then the situation changes if you have to press your foot on the accelerator and prepare for a long-distance journey, which, among other things, must be made at high speed.
In that moment, even the greatest procrastinators realize that action is inevitable.
Not being able to find the solution, however, we try to remedy, to identify palliatives.
But the remedy (and not the solution) always has some small details with it, and so does this section.

“PNRR, and above all compliance with deadlines, represents a priority for the economic and infrastructural development of our country. And as such, it must be respected.”

If the regulator has a priority and compliance with the reduced times of the PNRR is certainly a priority, it can only place the dossier at the top of the pile, which necessarily postpones the other dossiers to be processed, which increases the climate of multi-year emergency. who often live in ministerial offices and meanwhile increase the potential waiting times with those whose cases inevitably ended up in the most dangerous part of every pile of directories: the center.
It is certainly not time to act to revolutionize once again a ministry that has changed more names than staff in recent years, but it is certainly important to emphasize once again that a solution must be found.
It will not be a priority on this trip, but it is clear that sooner or later a broken arm will need to be replaced.

Stefano Monti

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