Draghi blocked the acquisition of an Italian company by a Chinese one, exercising the golden power introduced by a decree in 2012.
Prime Minister Mario Draghi has exercised “golden power”, which gives special powers to the government in dealing with public and private companies operating in strategic sectors for the country. The measure is provided for by a 2012 decree, which allows the executive to oppose the purchase of company shares, veto the adoption of resolutions and impose ad hoc prescriptions and conditions. This can only be done in the case of a “threat of serious harm” that could damage defence and national security.
“Golden power” is applied to the energy, transport, communications and related sectors, with 5G being added through other measures. Banks and insurance companies may also be affected. According to the decree, it is the Prime Minister who coordinates the activities, as happened in the case of the blocking of the acquisition of the Italian company Lpe by a Chinese company, which caused quite a stir.
The Minister for Economic Development, Giancarlo Giorgetti, has declared his intention to extend the “golden power” to other sectors, including the automotive and steel industries.
Draghi uses “golden power”, but it is not the first time: precedents on 5G
In fact, this is not the first time the Draghi government has exercised special powers. It has already happened for the purchase by the companies Fastweb and Linkem of 5G technologies of the Chinese Huawei and ZTE and the Taiwanese Askey, when the executive put prescriptions to the contracts. In that case, however, it was a matter of practice, provided for by the legislation governing “golden power”, with a decree dating back to 2019.
In fact, companies that enter into contracts or agreements for the acquisition of goods or services for the design, deployment, maintenance and operation of networks with 5G technology with entities operating outside the European Union are required to send a notification to the Government, which monitors the operation.
Draghi uses “golden power” for China’s acquisition of Lpe
Mario Draghi has exercised his special powers by preventing the Chinese group Shenzhen Investment Holdings from acquiring 70% of the shares of Lpe Spa, a company based in Lombardy that operates in the semiconductor sector. During the press conference held in recent days, the Prime Minister himself had spoken of golden power and its use to avoid ceding assets of strategic importance to foreign powers such as China. The resolution dates back to 31 March, although the parties were only notified this week.