Il Fatto Quotidiano (Andrea Managò) Paolo Berdini’s position in the city council, led by mayor Virginia Raggi, is becoming increasingly precarious. It was widely accepted that the councillor for city planning and public works was the most qualified (and also the most autonomous) member of M5S’ team in the capital. However, after nearly 5 months in office, his views are now starting to create more than a little unrest among his colleagues and other councillors.
Many of the projects that are capable of bringing the city’s struggling economy back to life pass through his hands: from Roma’s new stadium to the redevelopment of the Mercati Generali and the futures of the Fiera di Roma and the Torri dell’Eur. In the last few months Berdini has given these projects, which he inherited from the previous centre-left city council, a great deal of attention. It’s no secret that one of his objectives is to look at the entire town planning process from scratch, but the capital’s M5S movement are starting to fear that nearly €3 billion-worth of private investment in the capital could grind to a halt as a result. In other words, there is the chance he might say “no, not at any price”, a fear which is given more credence by the surprising withdrawal of Rome’s candidacy for the 2024 Olympics.
In the last few days, Raggi’s government has begun discussing the Giallorossi’s new stadium at Tor di Valle, a €1.5 billion project measuring 1 million cubic metres. They want the cubic footage of the 3 towers and other related works to the stadium to be reduced, but deputy mayor Daniele Frongia underlined: “Our aim is to take this project forward.” Just 2 days later though, Berdini sent out a different message when he argued “if Roma had chosen another site” then he would have been “much more happy” about it, and that “the current project contains aspects that are only relevant to private business, the city doesn’t need them.”
Reading the statements of the councillor for city planning, 2 prominent members of the M5S council grumbled, shaking their heads and saying: “This is saying no to everything…”, and some councillors have now begun to question how long Berdini should stay in the council. Nothing immediate will happen, nor is the situation irremediable as Raggi cannot afford new upheavals before the referendum, but the councillor for city planning is being scrutinised. His colleagues in the council certainly don’t like the fact he is difficult to find and hard to get in contact with: all his colleagues communicate using social media while he barely answers the phone. Some recent misunderstandings between Berdini and representatives from the residents of Piani di Zona (a badly executed program for the construction of social housing) have also not gone unnoticed, as they didn’t hide their support for the Five Star Movement during the election campaign.
In the meantime, Raffaele Guariniello may soon be on his way to the Palazzo Senatorio. The former Turin-based lawyer has already met the council and could join them in a consultancy role to advise them on issues of occupational safety. However the magistrate, who has already played major roles in cases regarding Eternit, Thyssen Krupp, Fiat-Alfa and substance abuse in football, will have to verify the compatibility of his role with the council with a pre-existing consultancy role at the Palazzo San Macuto. M5S have been looking at appointing Guariniello for some time and, if all goes well, they will soon have his prestigious name on board to advise the council on matters of legality.