Andrea Tomat, president of the â€˜Lottoâ€™ sportswear company:
â€œNorth-east Italy must obtain fiscal federalism and compete globally along with Slovenia and Carinthia
Born in Udine, Andrea Tomat began his career in the Eaton Corporation and in 1987 started working for Lotto clothing company. In 1998, together with Adriano Sartor, he bought out the Stonefly company. In 1999, as the head of a consortium of entrepreneurs, he acquired the Lotto brand-name and became President and Director General of the company that has its headquarters in the Province of Treviso, in Veneto. Between 2004 and 2008 he was President of Unindustria Treviso (the local association of entrepreneurs) and since 2004 has been on the governing body of the Italian business body Confindustria, and, since 2005 President of the Fondazione Nord-Est (the North-east Foundation). In April 2008 he became the new President of the Italian national committee of the International Chamber of Commerce.
Q What advantages do you see in the new Euroregional institution?
A The Euroregion is a project that, in the past, was called the Alpe Adria community, which was born, as we all know, well before the fall of the Berlin Wall and therefore in a context that is radically different from today. It is an idea that has found a new relevance, given the progressive expansion of the European Union and one that enjoys broad support from the Italian Regions of Veneto and Friuli Venezia Giulia and, I also believe, in Austria, Slovenia and Croatia.â€¨It is the new Europe of 27, and, more generally, the phenomenon of globalisation, that favour the creation of homogenous transboundary regions. These are, in any case, foreseen by Community regulations and are, in fact, the Euroregions. Particularly in this case, as for businesses, it poses the question of size and the identification of areas suitable for initiatives favouring territorial competitiveness.
Q As a North-east Italian businessman, what message would you like to put forward in this respect?
A At this point in time thereâ€™s a widespread awareness that this area has assumed a new centrality for the Continent and a role as a node on at least three important European connecting routes (Corridors 5 and 1 and the Autostrade del mare, that is â€˜sea-motorwaysâ€™ in Italian). It is, above all, this geographical position that means that these regions share the same needs and similar objectives. The Euroregion could, together with the respective national governments, help coordinate the investments that are being made in this field, and, of course, favour the institutional, economic and cultural relationships in this area.
Q Is the concept of territoriality still relevant in a globalised market?
A Yes, of course; even more so in a capitalism of people and territories such as that found in Italy, and especially in the North-east, along with the regions that may well go to make up the Euroregion. The internationalisation of businesses, and this is a crucial step for many sectors, should not be seen as an alternative to the identifying themselves as part of a local community and an industrial tradition that is profoundly our own. In fact this could actually become our brand in getting ourselves known and appreciated at a global level.
Q What impetus can a multicultural context supply to an entrepreneurial activity such as yours?
A Operating in a multilingual and multicultural context is an opportunity for everyone and each and every business and is present in the DNA of our production systems, accustomed as we are to always searching for new opportunities and partnerships in Europe and the world.
Q What behaviour would you like to see from the various nation States and from the Italians in particular when it comes to the delegation of certain powers to organisations such as the Euroregion?
A With North-Eastern Italy in mind, the creation of a Euroregion obviously comes after the carrying out of reforms that lead towards fiscal federalism. These would give the Region Veneto the powers and resources already enjoyed by the two autonomous Regions that also go to make up the area: Trentino – Alto Adige and Friuli – Venezia Giulia. A federal organisation, Iâ€™d like to emphasise, has always been the state of affairs in Austria as well as in Germany – and Slovenia is working towards a regionalised model. As I said in my recent address to the Assembly of Unindustria in Treviso, for whom I have just finished my term as President: a real and efficient federalism represents a precondition in North-east Italy to give life both to our (disadvantaged) interior and an effective metropolitan dimension. Through the construction of a European macroregion, this would allow us to link up with Carinthia, Slovenia, Istria and Dalmatia. In any case, this is the new frame of reference and we must measure ourselves against it without delay. x