Here’s how the Melonians beat up Credit Agricole, Vivendi and other French companies in Italy

Here's how the Melonians beat up Credit Agricole, Vivendi and other French companies in Italy

What is said and whispered at the top of Fratelli d'Italia about French groups active in Italy, not just Credit Agricole… The article by Emanuela Rossi

There is expectation for the new Brothers of Italy traction government on which the party leader, Giorgia Meloni, is working hard these days. Names of eligible ministers of Economy are circulating, among the most popular are those of Fabio Panetta, general manager of the Bank of Italy, and Domenico Siniscalco, already in Via XX Settembre during Berlusconi II and III. However, if it is certain that it is necessary to wait to see who will sit at the table of the CDM, in Palazzo Chigi, it is possible in the meantime to take some notes to understand what the strategy of the new executive will be in the economic-financial field.

From this point of view we cannot forget the strenuous defense of the Italian spirit in the strategic sectors of the productive fabric and in the major national companies, starting with banks and insurance companies, made in recent years by important exponents of the Brothers of Italy. The last one a few weeks ago when Guido Crosetto, former undersecretary, co-founder of FdI, entrepreneur and listened to Meloni's adviser, returned to the subject talking about the stake held by Crédit Agricole Italia in Banco Bpm which could lead to a takeover of the square. Meda by the French group. Crosetto, however, was indirectly answered two days after the vote by the CEO of Crédit Agricole Italia, Giampiero Maioli.


The press agencies recount the reasoning made by Maioli at the seventh national congress of Uilca. "The nationality of a bank matters little, it matters more what you do for the territory and the people", said the manager, replying to those – Crosetto – had declared : "Italy needs 2-3 large banking groups" and in this sense "Banco Bpm is a fundamental building block for the construction of a second or third Italian hub that can compete with European banking groups".

According to Maioli, however, “we are in Europe, Italy is a European country, luckily there is free exchange of capital in Europe. Just as European banks can invest in Italy, it is also legitimate for Italian banks to invest in Europe. As an Italian citizen I would be proud to see them increasingly present in core countries in Europe ".


Crosetto had paid some attention to Crédit Agricole in March 2021. “The takeover of Crédit Agricole on Creval is going on, in total silence – he wrote on Twitter. Creval's board of directors opposed, the takeover bid is essentially at no cost (350 million of tax credits and 400 of free capital), but Italian politics pretends not to see the French assault on finance ”. How it ended is history: on 24 April this year, the process of integrating Credito Valtellinese into the French banking group through Crédit Agricole Italia was completed.

More recently – dates back to 13 August – another tweet from the former Undersecretary of Defense in the Berlusconi IV government: "While we waste time debating the blunders of this or that politician – he wrote -, Crédit Agricole continues its climb to become the second 'Italian' pole and to control all managed savings. Will it be Anima's turn after Pioneer? The issue is not of the market, it is political ”.

In the same month, four years earlier, Crosetto had instead had his say – again on Twitter – on the possible merger between Unicredit, then led by the transalpine manager Jean-Pierre Mustier, and Sociétè Generale. “I consider the rumored merger of #SocGen and #UniCredit a hostile act towards Italy, like the war on Libya. I want to say it first this time too. It is the result of a strategy born with the choice of the French CEO Mustier, 'resigned' from SocGen for insiders ”.

And again, a few days later: “I say this so that no one can have excuses: UniCredit is lost and will enter the French orbit, in the total indifference of all. Remember this by using it will no longer buy Italian securities. I hope that some Italians will at least take over its shares in Mediobanca. At least those … ".


Also on the part of another leading exponent of FdI, Adolfo Urso, in recent years many fears have emerged for a possible expansion of the French presence in the national economic fabric. In the latest Copasir report – which the former deputy minister has presided over since June 2021, who took over from Raffaele Volpi – the activity carried out from 1 January 2021 to 9 February 2022 intervenes on Tim, controlled by the French of Vivendi. “The creation of a single publicly controlled network appears to be the solution capable of guaranteeing the necessary level of communications security. Therefore, it is desirable that the Government undertakes the quickest decision-making path for the pursuit of this objective, also in order to avoid that distinct projects for the creation of broadband networks, carried out by different market players, can make the process more complex and costly. creation of a single network infrastructure controlled by the state ". The Tim group, currently under the control of Vivendi, is one of the main players operating in this area.

A few months earlier, in January 2021, Urso had presented a question to the then ministers of the Economy, Roberto Gualtieri, and of Economic Development, Stefano Patuanelli, in which he highlighted how the merger put "public control of the network at risk by handing over the entire Italian network to a single operator, moreover controlled by a foreign entity, namely Vivendi. This is in contradiction with the indications that Parliament has given to the Government with more convergent motions approved between June and December 2020 – he asserted -, and in which, in addition to hoping for a rapid completion of the national optical fiber network, it was stated that the control of the company of the single network, given its importance and strategic nature, should remain firmly in Italian hands and under the effective control of the State ”.

"Now the bank will go back to pursuing the national interest" was instead the comment, entrusted to Twitter, by Urso himself when Mustier left the helm of Unicredit.

Also during his stay at Copasir, but as vice president, Urso had made it clear that it was "necessary to raise the shield on strategic assets and strengthen economic intelligence" and in the previous days he had applauded the government's decision to extend the golden power to banks and insurance. "The credit and financial system are the lungs of our economy" he said in an interview with the Huffington Post , therefore it is necessary to "allow the Cassa Depositi e Prestiti, Invitalia and the Post Office to build a dam to protect the national interest, build the Piave line ".

And again when he was vice-president of the Parliamentary Committee for the security of the Republic, in November 2020, an annual report was presented in which he put his finger on various "wounds", starting with the "worrying news on possible mergers of UniCredit with other foreign players, including: the German institute Commerzbank, or the French banks Crédit Agricole and Société Générale ”. All transactions in which "a risk of particular importance for the banking and public savings system was recognized, given that, in addition to jeopardizing their independence, they could determine a strong asymmetry between the area of ​​collection of financial resources (Italy) and that of use of the same (abroad). In fact, while continuing to come from Italian families and businesses, the resources raised by UniCredit could be used to finance foreign territories and production systems ”.

Similar thoughts were then reserved for the Lion of Trieste: "The Committee believes that it is of strategic importance to maintain Generali's independence, also ensured by maintaining governance in Italy". The reference was to the possible sale to “foreign insurance groups, including AXA, owned by France”. Without forgetting Unicredit with “some initiatives apparently aimed at freeing the bank from Italy. In fact, this could include the UniCredit sale transactions of some 'Italian jewels', such as Fineco and Pioneer, or the reduction of the BTP portfolio which, from 2016 to today, has decreased by about 11 billion euros ".

This is a machine translation from Italian language of a post published on Start Magazine at the URL on Mon, 03 Oct 2022 04:44:19 +0000.