Giovanni Pitruzzella is not simply a "Prince of the Forum". Since November last year, from the windows of his office, on the highest hill in Rome, he has seen the Quirinale flag and the first spire of St. Peter's. From the top of the very powerful Competition and Market Authority to the top levels of the Republic, the highest, in the hierarchical scale of law and laws. Sergio Mattarella, the Head of State himself, called him to the Court of Courts.

Fra' Ignazio & Quirinale

The appointment as Constitutional Judge is not a "divine gift", if anything the recognition of a brilliant career, all played between Constitutional Law and Public Law. In Sardinia he is not unknown. His rise began on the climb of Viale Fra Ignazio, in the university heart of Cagliari. It was there, in the "cradle" of Sardinian jurists, that his university career began: associate professor of Public Law Institutions in the Faculty of Political Sciences. His academic rise is entirely Sardinian, from 1994 to 1997, again at the Cagliari university, he became full professor of Constitutional Law in the Faculty of Law. It will remain in the shadows of university classrooms for a short time. First Azeglio Ciampi, Prime Minister and future President of the Republic, and then Lamberto Dini want him at Palazzo Chigi as a legal consultant. The turning point came in 2011. As a constitutional expert expert in public procurement law, the Presidents of the Chamber and Senate called him to the highest position in the country in matters of competition and markets.

Competition, the “verb”

From the year of his appointment as President of the Authority until 2018 he was the "word" of the Antitrust , the Competition and Market Guarantor Authority. A key place to establish what is competitive and what is not, the "conclave" where it is established whether there is a monopoly or a free market. When Giovanni Pitruzzella wrote to the Presidents of the Senate and the Chamber, to the President of the Council of Ministers, to the Minister of Infrastructure and Transport and to Enac, the National Civil Aviation Authority, it was 5 July 2017. A letter entirely focused on on the privatization of airports, the obligations to be followed, the rules to be applied. A peremptory letter that seems to have been written well in advance to "stop" the privatization operation of Cagliari airport.

Missive without appeal

Not a missive like many others. He, now a Constitutional Judge, reveals in that letter all the authority, beyond the institutional function, to address the Chambers without frills on a hot topic: «Regulations regarding the sale of public shareholdings in companies holding airport concessions». Not a pro forma letter. A real decalogue on the interpretation to be given to the relevant regulations, the hierarchy of sources and any legislative corrections to align the secondary regulations with the primary ones. An "institutional" note that takes on the weight of a real policy treaty on the privatization of public shares in the management of airport concessions. A communication as heavy as a boulder, a real "verb" in the matter of airport "privatization". When the "safes" of Piazza Giuseppe Verdi in Rome, headquarters of the Authority , bring to light that communication on the relationship between public and private in the management of airports, Roberto Rustichelli, current President of the Guarantor Authority, has already signed an opinion for Cagliari which he says the exact opposite of what his authoritative predecessor had "sentenced". A "black hole", heavy and incomprehensible, in the memory of Competition and the Market. On the one hand the Constitutional Judge who had expressed a firm and clear line to the top of the State, no privatization without public tenders, on the other the new governance of the Authority which blatantly disavows the direction of the founder of the Competition, now opposite the Head of the State. The position of Giovanni Pitruzzella, now also in the running for the future leadership of the Constitutional Court, was like a "sentence" without appeal, clear and resounding: « the Authority therefore believes that the sectoral legislation - which exclusively regulates the transfer to private individuals of majority shareholdings or which, in any case, do not lead to the loss of the public majority - cannot be considered suitable to legitimize methods of transfer of minority shareholdings that do not comply with general and primary law ". In essence, the constitutional magistrate was clear in the key passage: even if the sectoral rules relating to the privatization of public shares of airports were not clear, the primary rule which imposes a public tender to select in a "competitive" manner the private individual who can acquire public shares only if put up for tender.

Table of laws

It is always that letter which has become a "table of laws", "forgotten" among fallacious archives, signed by the previous top management of the Authority, which recalls Parliament to a provision of primary rank, that contained in the "Consolidated Law on joint stock companies public". Pitruzzella puts that provision in quotation marks and underlines it: « The Consolidated Law, in fact, clearly obliges to identify the private shareholder through publicly available insolvency procedures, even more so in cases in which the transferred share, even if a minority, could be configured as a controlling interest. The Authority, in order to maintain sufficient incentives for efficiency and competitiveness also in the context of a process of concentration of airport management, has already in the past highlighted the need to guarantee the highest possible level of competition between private companies in the market access phase, hoping that the sectoral reorganization will be achieved through effective opening up to competition in the management of airports ".

Peremptory missive

That "forgotten" letter, which fundamentally disavows the silent consent of the Guarantor Authority on the privatization, without public tender, of Cagliari airport, is a truly unsurpassable cornerstone. Pitruzzella writes in the peremptory letter to Montecitorio and Palazzo Madama: « the Authority invites the Authorities to make every effort in the future to ensure that the obligation to resort to public evidence procedures in the choice of the private partner, enshrined in Legislative Decree no. . 175/2016, promoting the calling of actual tenders at least in cases where, as a result of the sale of public shares and/or a subsequent capital increase, the original subjective management structure of the owner company can be modified of public airport concessions ".

The Sardinian mystery

He doesn't use periphrases, he doesn't mock himself with ambiguous half measures. When writing to Parliament, the Constitutional Judge dictates and states: it is an " obligation " to resort to transparent and competitive tenders to "privatise" public companies. In Sardinia, however, the Guarantor Authority has decided for a "free zone", where privatization can be carried out without transparent, public and competitive tenders. A mystery that doesn't end here.


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