Objective 2

Written by  Patrizio Bianchi
Ferrara's economic growth and European Union structural funds.
In 1997 Ferrara was listed as an area of industrial decline, i.e., it was included in the areas covered by the EU's so-called Objective 2 and as such is an area into which public funds may be channelled in support of industry.

In terms of incomes, unemployment, infrastructures, and services for people and business, Europe is still characterized by remarkable disparities between various areas.
These disparities are marked when measured in national economic terms, but they emerge as gigantic when compared on a regional basis. Analogously, infrastructures are markedly different from region to region, thus highlighting the existence of a vast area of high development and a series of ever more marginal areas.

On the other hand, experience teaches us that there are no automatic instruments capable of re-establishing an equitable division of wealth throughout the various regions, just as there are no policies calculated to encourage localization that might make up for localized disadvantages caused by the lack of infrastructures and poor communications.
With this in mind, the EC has adopted structural policies calculated to remove the structural causes of the relative backwardness of many European regions rather than simply compensate for localized disadvantages.
Ferrara's inclusion among the areas designated for support therefore implies a way of conceiving local development in line with European thinking as well as the definition of a whole series of projects that will allow not only the creation of jobs but also encourage our area's return to the mainstream of European innovation and development.
This is an opportunity that should not be seen as a chance to gain access to individual subsidies for businesses, but as a wide-ranging plan to modernize the entire productive and administrative structure of our area, a means of making the best of existing businesses, but also the chance to set up new initiatives in highly innovational sectors.

How can Ferrara turn all this to advantage? First of all by identifying the method that qualifies collective action, then by concerning ourselves with content. True, the European Union has allocated resources for businesses and the territory but these cannot be showered indiscriminately all over. In our case we should remember the need to consolidate a fragile industrial structure, made up of a recent network of small businesses, mostly subcontractors. We must therefore encourage processes of aggregation and qualification.

The various mechanical, chemical, textile and industrial farming concerns will have to reposition themselves so as to gain more direct access to innovation: not only in terms of processes, but production. The establishment of a club of high tech businesses, together with the University and the Consorzio Ferrara Ricerche could give rise to the consensus necessary to support this kind of experimentation. But all this requires investment in human resources and an awareness of our effective capacities.