Before we all get too excited about Venice replacing Milan as Italy’s candidate for the European Agency for the Environment, let it be said now that it will not.
Although the motion was supported by 337 out 630 deputies when put to the Chamber at Montecitorio by Alessandra Cecchetto Coco (Vice-President, Green Party, Venice) on 21 June 1990, speculation was formally ended in an article by Giovanni Castellaneta published by La Nuova Venezia on 14 October 1990. Castallaneta, acting as spokesman for the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Gianni De Michelis, said that Milan’s candidature had been “formally adopted” in January 1990.
If Venice were also to be considered it would only “weaken Milan’s candidature in the face of competition from other member states” including Denmark, Spain, Holland, and Britain. But could the intransigency have anything to do with the fact that Ruffolo, the Italian Minister for the Environment has Milanese affiliations?
Commenting on the likelihood of Milan’s success in the contest, Caroline Jackson, MEP, who sits on the Committee on the Environment, Public Health, and Consumer Protection, said: “As Milan already has the European Centre for Scientific Research at Ispra, it is unlikely that it will also get the Environment Agency.”
Denmark (joined EEC 1973) and Spain (joined EEC 1986), she said, were more likely bets as neither of these members yet houses a community institution.
A decision on the situation of the Agency should have been made at the Rome summit on 27 October, but was postponed until the December summit because it has become tangled up with the question of where the European Parliament will go.
The French are not prepared to agree to the placing until they know the EP will be situated in Strasbourg, and the placing cannot be made until all the member states agree.
Caroline Jackson felt that the only real argument in favour of giving the agency to the Italians, given their dreadful track record as champions of the environment, is that “it might make them clean up their act”.
Originally appeared in The Art Newspaper as ‘Much Ado about Nothing'