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Once upon a time there was a great soccer player …
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From a friend who is kind enough to keep me updated, I received a study report from Eurisko concerning the Italian business sentiment, meaningfully titled “Winter Business Climate”, which provides a snapshot and analysis of the current economic situation and the prevailing sentiment of the business community.
My friend noted: “I am attaching the Eurisko report on the Italian business sentiment, updated at December; there seems to be some reason for optimism!”
“At long last!” I thought, and I read carefully. I was not quite convinced, so I wrote back to him saying that I did not quite perceive the positive feeling he had mentioned. There followed an exchange of emails. “Massimo, it seems to me that pessimism is still prevailing, in fact”. His reply: “ It is still just a half glass, it all depends on how you look at it …”
It is true, unfortunately we have to make do with a half-full glass. One thing I noticed in the survey I mentioned, however, (like in many other studies), is the lack of any reference being made to the damage caused to the economy by criminality and tax evasion, which, according to in-depth studies, amounted to 27% of the GDP in 2012.
We are often upset when Europe criticises our country; we make it a matter of self-respect, and we are maybe right – if we do not defend ourselves, who will? But is it correct?
Uli Hoeness, German, used to be a great soccer player, a veritable icon who won just about everything, from national championships to the Champions League and even the World Cup with his national team. As President of Bayern Munich he confirmed his success, by turning his soccer club into one of the few winning teams making a profit. Even Chancellor Angela Merkel is among his admirers.
Such visibility, however, was not enough to spare him a three-and-a-half-year jail sentence for tax evasion.
In a serious country, a distinction is made between popularity and incorrect behaviours, so much so that even Uli Hoeness seemed to be convinced of it (or at least coming to terms with it) and refused to file an appeal against the verdict, accepting to serve his term in jail and resigning from president of the soccer club.
I don’t mean to suggest that the Bayern president should be imitated: he made a mistake and should pay for it, as he recognises himself.
The difference, the one earning our politicians sarcastic sniggers at EU meetings, is that we, too, have presidents who have been convicted in court, but are we sure that they recognise their guilt and accept the sentences?

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