The Italian strategy for digital transition

The Covid-19 pandemic has imposed a strong acceleration in the digital transition process. The European Union, through the Next Generation EU Plan, has established that at least 20% of the funds allocated to Member States must be used for digital transformation objectives. Much of these expenditures will have to be employed for digitize some public functions and services. This paper intends to examine the proposals contained in the Italian Recovery Plan, analyzing its approach, priorities and the overall strategy, especially in relation to the administrative action.

Public procurement and the new simplification procedure of the Italian Recovery Plan

The simplification procedure of the Public Procurement Code started with d.L. 32/2019 has undergone a strong acceleration with the explosion of Covid-19 pandemic; in addition to the previous decrees, today, the Government's action focuses on the Italian Recovery Plan. The Plan provides a specific simplification strategy on public procurement in part. 2.1.1 with two different measures: the “urgent” ones as a reinforcement of the simplification already provided for in d.L. 76/2020; and “fully operational” ones. The main goal is to use simplification as an instrument to fight corruption, which also led to the strengthening of e-Procurement with the establishment of the Recovery Procurement Platform. The analysis of the implementation of the Plan will be essential to understand how to combine simplification and procedural guarantees, especially in the fight against corruption.

From the emergency to the recovery: The State’s support to enterprises

In 2020, in order to limit the negative impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, every State took measures to support private and public enterprises, through the provision of public guarantees on bank loans and financial aids. The paper aims to analyze, in comparative perspective, those public efforts, taking into consideration the Italian and European administrative actions to ease public and private investments. In this perspective, it considers the emergency measures to save the economy. In 2021, on the contrary, the public action seems to focus on the innovation and development of the economic system. As a consequence, the paper examines the administrative reforms conceived to support enterprises in the Italian system, especially those provided by the Recovery Plan, in comparison with the reforms proposed in other European countries.

The pandemic’s effect on FDI screening mechanisms

During 2020 the Covid-19 pandemic affected strongly the foreign direct investment screening mechanisms of many countries. In Italy the reforms widened the scope of the screening mechanism by including activities related to the banking and insurance sectors and they also introduced the possibility to review investments coming from other EU’s member States. In France the thresholds to activate the control mechanism were lowered, the Minister of economy received the power to unilaterally modify agreements previously reached with investors and new protected sectors were added. In Germany the reforms allowed to start the screening procedure because of a mere risk for national security (before a serious menace was needed) and the investments are now completely suspended during the procedure. These and other reforms testify a growing attitude towards protectionism that should be interesting to analyze to fully understand how the role of the State is changing because of the pandemic.

Vaccine Export Controls as Part of the EU’s Pandemic Response: An Impeccable Legal Instrument with Risks and Side Effects

A shortage of medical supplies and devices especially at the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic and hence related questions of procurement and distribution have raised awareness among lawmakers about the need for respective regulation. In order to address risks to the supply of vaccines, the European Union has, inter alia, opted for tightening it’s export control regime. In the following, the adopted implementing regulation will undergo a legal analysis including its policy background and implications. Firstly, the regulation will be outlined highlighting it’s exceptional nature with regard to the general freedom to export. Secondly, it will be shown that the adopted regulation complies with both primary and secondary-law obligations as well as international obligations. Thirdly and lastly, it is however to be discussed whether or not the restrictions to vaccine exports might evoke adverse factual and political outcomes contrary to the regulation’s intentions.