Opportunity, chosen as the theme of this year’s Statistical Report, in my opinion deeply and significantly captures the developments that we are experiencing in this period. Certainly, the current economic and social environment also has a negative impact on our region, but at the same time it can represent a factor of renovation and change for the Veneto Model which, up until today, has experienced great success in numerous aspects of community life.
Actually, the idea of opportunity was already touched upon in the analysis contained in the previous editions of the Report, especially the last two ones.
In 2010, an initial response of the Veneto System to the effects of recession was identified in the ‘construction of networks’, in both a physiological and spontaneous form, and in 2011, the statistical analysis allowed to articulate the concept of sustainability inn a more precise manner, as a possible strategy for a new development model. The calculations contained in this volume therefore represent the natural evolution and, in a certain sense, the acme of a path of study and research which began in the aftermath of the global crisis outbreak.
Among the opportunities which I believe should be grasped, as Vice Chairman and Regional Councillor, I would like to focus on the potential, great but still non completely expressed, held in the untapped resources of the culture and the landscape of our territory, which are an exceptional opportunity to do business and build synergies despite the challenging context we are facing today: I think, for example, of the extraordinary success of the recent Venetian stage of the America’s Cup, the candidature of the Northeast of Italy as European Capital of Culture in 2019, the continual process of broadband diffusion and the commitment to environmental and urban redevelopment of our Country, not only with a conservational aim but also with a view to generate new growth.
Finally, I would like to highlight that this year, even more so than in past editions, the wealth of data and analysis contained in the Statistical Report not only gives a static image, almost a photo of Veneto, but also allows the possible future development of our region to be traced.
Vice Chairman and Councillor for the Territory,
Culture, Statistics and General Affairs of the Veneto Region
In this historic time burdened by a deep international economic recession, the effects of which have had grave repercussions on the stability of the Member States as well as on the lives of businesses and families, it may seem paradoxical to deal with the subject of opportunities as the Regional Statistic Report does this year.
In reality, the same concept of crisis embodies the concept of change and progress towards new goals, which often occurs through the radical change of traditional development models: according to Albert Einstein, ‘in the midst of difficulty lies opportunity’, and it is precisely this impulse of creativity and innovation which individuals and communities, including Veneto, should seize and apply to the present day.
The Report shows that our region is in a good position compared to other Italian and European areas, especially due to its natural vocation towards internationality which is demonstrated by many economic sectors and, therefore, its exposure to growing foreign markets.
In such circumstances, however, adopting strategies merely aimed at adapting to the status quo is not sufficient, as it is also essential that we learn to break away from the past, whilst still building upon the ‘fundamentals’ of our community: a solid and dynamic production system based on quality manufacturing and innovation and, ever increasingly, on the service sectors of tourism, sales and credit, as well as quality agriculture.
In particular, I believe that, in this increasingly globalised world, we need to go back to the roots of excellence which distinguish our territory and those who live here: in fact, differences and specific features form an asset in which to invest and, at the same time, a strategy to be implemented for the construction of future growth.
In order to support this vision, the Veneto Region is effectively working on the realisation of a new governance model which favours a synergistic, federative, and subsidiary approach for solving the issues: think of the recently adopted Regional Statute, the Pact for Development agreed with the social partners and the redevelopment and revitalisation plan for the Marghera area.
The road is still long and arduous, but I believe that the only possible route to take is that of federalism and autonomy of the territories, since, as the President of the Republic of Italy Giorgio Napolitano said, federalism is no longer a choice, but a necessity for the Country.
Chairman of the Veneto Region
The subtitle of the Regional Statistical Report in this edition as in the past ones is ‘Veneto, descriptions and comparisons’.
It is an icastic phrase of which I would especially like to emphasise the comparison aspect: in fact, in an increasingly globalised, competitive and integrated world as the one in which we live, awareness of any phenomenon cannot solely be expressed in absolute terms, since an additional interpretation in relative terms is also required, elaborated through the lens of comparison and benchmarking with similar geographic areas.
For example, saying that the export of a certain region has increased 10% compared to the previous year is not sufficient to be able to increase the understanding of the phenomenon in a significant way: this performance requires comparison with that of the competitors, for the purpose of assessing the subject of the study in an organic and comprehensive manner.
To this regard, the criterion of comparison forms a dialectical tool of choice for in-depth examination and study, which allows to reach better knowledge and understanding of the area concerned and pf the other ones, and explore the possible evolution of the future scenarios for the economy and the society.
The Statistical Report, as previously mentioned, has always used this investigation technique and continues to do so with increasing conviction, comparing Veneto with the richest regions of Europe, and, especially in recent years, also keeping an eye on areas which may be geographically distant but have an increasing social and economic weight, such as the emerging countries. The Report recognises that placing the statistical study of Veneto within a broader framework – ranging from Italian and European regions to BRICS, North African and Arab States – is essential to consciously interpret the phenomena which concern our region both to the local and global dimensions.
I therefore believe that the analysis contained in this volume – available both in Italian and English and in HTML format on the Regional Authority website (http://www.regione.veneto.it/Temi+Istituzionali/Statistica/) – represents a useful and authoritative interpretation of the present and the future of our region and can act as a valid cognitive aid for facing the challenges that lie ahead.
General Secretary of Planning
Region of Veneto