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Italy: Measures to Reactivate the Economy, Promote Development, and Reduce Bureaucracy

(Nov. 19, 2014) The Italian legislature recently passed legislation to strengthen the national economy and to reduce bureaucracy. (Decree-Law No. 133, of September 12, 2014 (D.L. 133), Urgent Measures for the Opening of Construction Sites, the Construction of Public Works, Digitization of the Country, Reduction of Bureaucracy, the Mitigation of Hydrogeological Instability, and for the Resumption of Productive Activities [in Italian], GAZETTA UFFICIALE [G.U.] No. 212 (Sept. 12, 2014).)

D.L. 133 contains measures on the reopening of shipyard facilities (id. arts. 1-4); the enhancement of highway networks and telecommunications (id. arts. 5-6); environmental protection and the mitigation of hydrogeological damage (id. arts. 7-8); cutting of bureaucratic red tape (id. arts. 9-16); revival of construction activities (id. arts. 17-27); ports and airports (id. arts. 28-29); the reactivation of investment in the country, particularly through the promotion of the “Made in Italy” brand (id. arts. 30-32); environmental remediation and urban regeneration in areas of national interest (id. arts. 33-35); energy-related matters (id. arts. 36-39); and financial affairs within the purview of local authorities (id. arts. 40-45).

More specifically, D.L. 133 includes urgent measures to implement improvement of rail service between Naples–Bari and Palermo–Catania–Messina. (Id. art. 1(1)-1(10).) To that effect, the legislation provides that the Chief Executive Officer of the National Railroad System be appointed as Commissioner to oversee the Naples–Bari railway work in accordance with Italy’s Strategic Infrastructure Plan, set forth in Law No. 443 of December 21, 2001. (Law No. 443 of December 21, 2001, Delegated Powers Concerning Infrastructure and Strategic Production and Other Interventions for the Recovery of Productive Activities), art. 1(1) [in Italian], G.U. No. 299, Dec. 27, 2001.) The Commissioner’s term will be two years from the entry into force of D.L. 133. (D.L. 133, art. 1(1).) The Commissioner is entitled to seek help from other government agencies in order to attract investment for the implementation of the projects. (Id. art. 1(6).)

D.L. 133 includes updated rules for highway concession contracts. (Id. art. 5(1).) In particular, it allows concessionaires of national highways to request, before December 31, 2014, amendment of their concession tracts to allow the unification of interconnected, contiguous, or complementary sections, in order to facilitate uniform management. (Id.) The amended plans, which must ensure economic and financial balance and not result in further financial burdens for the state, must take effect by August 31, 2015. (Id. arts. 5(1) & (2).)

D.L. 133 sets forth a series of measures directed at the modernization of electronic communications throughout the country, including the creation of broadband networks, the excavation and installation of aerial cables, and the implementation of more extensive mobile telecommunications networks. (Id. art. 6.1.)

D.L. 133 also includes legislative amendments seeking to accelerate interventions for the management of water resources, particularly for the mitigation of hydrogeological risks, the adjustment of sewage water collection systems, and the financing of urgent work needed on watercourses in metropolitan areas adversely affected by flooding and alluviums. (Id. art. 7.)

Finally, among other interesting measures, D.L. 133 orders the Executive Branch to issue regulations, which will provide for uniformity throughout the applicable legislation, on eliminating excavated earth and rock from being considered waste. (Id. art. 8.) The purpose is to treat those materials, under certain conditions, as byproducts for purposes of meeting environmental goals. (Id.)