The financial year that closed on 31 December 2020, together with approval of the financial statement, marks the second year of office of the Directors appointed for the three-year period 2019-2020-2021. 
In the last quarter of 2020, the Statutory Bodies of Fondazione Fiera Milano (Board of Governors and Executive Committee) approved the 2020-2022 Industrial Plan outlining Fondazione’s strategic development path. In terms of implementation of the Plan, the 2020 scenario radically changed world economic prospects due to the Covid-19 global pandemic, one of those rare and unpredictable events that dramatically and systemically impacts the international economy and individual countries.  

Like most of the world, the Milan trade fair system also had to close down for over 16 months due to this unprecedented worldwide emergency. 
The exogenous shock of the global Covid-19 pandemic has disrupted our reality throughout these long months but the Fiera Milano Group has unfailingly maintained a positive attitude. 
Thinking about how to make best use of our premises, and also of the Group’s organizational and logistical capabilities, we decided firstly to offer our available space for use as a hospital managed by Ospedale Policlinico di Milano, developed thanks to the generosity of over 6,000 donors, and then, with the help of Politecnico di Milano and EY, to fine-tune the mass vaccination organizational model adopted in Lombardy, which enabled our Region to achieve high levels of immunization. 
Thanks to the capital strength of Fondazione Fiera Milano, we have tried to anticipate and re-design the future, knowing that we will be moving in a scenario that will require greater competitiveness and innovation, as the virus will upset global geo-economic balances and thus redefine supply chains. 
The crisis generated by the pandemic has laid bare the urgent need for bold systemic action to guarantee the reactivity and resilience of the Italian industrial system in the new competitive scenario. 
We now need to step up, take our courage in both hands and accelerate the process (because any hesitation at this point in time could have irreversible effects) and we need a radical change in mentality, because this crisis is not cyclical but structural. 

Transformation and change are a must in tackling the new realities of our business, assisted by new digital and physical infrastructures. 
In this context, the trade-fair system represents a central asset for the competitiveness of Italian industry, for growth of the country’s productive fabric, for the internationalization of its companies and appeal of the national economic system. It also represents an invaluable vantage point for the national industry and its relations with the local areas. 
Trade fairs promote manufacturing, open up foreign markets and are opportunities for presenting innovations and acquiring competences. They are drivers for territorial development and advanced tertiary services via which the communication and hospitality supply chains can be developed and supported. The main beneficiaries of this are the small and medium-sized enterprises. 
The Fiera Milano Group represents and offers its services as a tool for industrial policy and the promotion of small and medium-sized enterprises, in addition to acting as a driving force for territorial marketing. 
As an industrial policy tool, the turnover of the companies that take part in the events organized by Fiera di Milano amounts to 46.6 billion euro in a “normal” year. 
As a territorial marketing lever, the impact generated by investments and expenses for organization of the trade fairs and by exhibitor and visitor consumption is 8.1 billion euro, again in a normal year. 
It is estimated that the total contribution to GDP is 53.7 billion euro, equal to 3% of Italian GDP in 2019. 
The more we are able to liaise with and work together with the different production chains to offer companies attractive, sustainable and constantly evolving shows and events, the more this “added value” will continue to be generated, benefiting the whole country. 

With the decree-law of 22 April 2021, which establishes the resumption of trade-fair activity from 15 June and conferences and congresses as from 1 July, Fiera Milano is re-opening and re-starting. 
We must therefore thank the Draghi Government and in particular the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Tourism for the strenuous efforts made to achieve this important result. 
The first signs of recovery of international mobility, fundamental for the trade-fair system, are encouraging, aided by the success of the vaccination campaign, in our country and elsewhere. Approval of the European Green Pass and the vaccination trend give us reason to be cautiously optimistic about complete freedom of movement between Europe and the United States, the countries most represented by exhibitors and visitors. 
Added to these factors is the economic recovery, boosted by the Piano Nazionale di Rilancio e Resilienza [national recovery and resilience plan], which will further strengthen this cautious but justified optimism. 
I’d like to add a further note of optimism, called Milan. 
In the words of engineer and author, Carlo Emilio Gadda, as Fiera Milano was taking its first steps: in Milan everything is done “with assured accuracy”, i.e.: with a quality of work and a precision that are not only a guarantee of “comfort in living”, as they said at the time, but also “encouragement to have faith in the future and, above all, in the present”. 
There is no doubt that, for a whole century, Fiera Milano has been a prime observer, the most prestigious showcase, and one of the driving forces of the present. 
The situation we have experienced with Covid can be compared to an F1 race interrupted by an accident, a very serious accident. 
Our car was one of the race leaders, but when the safety car came onto the track, it suddenly slowed down all the others. The distances were reduced and a pit stop was required. Restarting depends on this phase: strategy, planning, maintenance and new tires are vital. 

The “pit stop” is an extraordinary oxymoron to describe something that couldn’t be more intense and frenetic, and conveys the idea of what we are all called upon to do, each one of us in his/her own role, so that Milan and Lombardy can reassert themselves as the driving force of the country. 
It is our social and ethical responsibility to ensure that the race can now resume, and that we can return to full trade-fair activity in Milan, in Lombardy and throughout the world.

Enrico Pazzali 





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