Sixth Forum for Dialogue between Switzerland and Italy
Institutional Communication Service
31 October 2022
The sixth Forum for Dialogue between Switzerland and Italy was held in Zurich on 21, and 22 October 2022, featuring representatives of regulatory and economic policy authorities, civil society representatives, and industry experts gathered in four Clusters to discuss issues related to finance and sustainability, migration, climate change, and health and the effects caused by the pandemic.
The first Cluster, chaired by Professor Francesco Franzoni of USI Institute of Finance, addressed issues related to sustainable finance and the role fintech can play in supporting and accelerating the ecological transition. The discussion focused on the plurality of standards currently adopted and the resulting disorientation for financial practitioners resulting in the risk of green-washing. The effort to comply with sustainability and reporting criteria faced by small and medium-sized companies with multiple burdens on different fronts was also addressed. On the other hand, the plurality of sustainability standards may leave room for the market to define activities that embrace sustainability and financial viability over a medium- to long-term period. Another topic discussed in the Cluster was blockchain as a sustainable technology and its role in fostering the diffusion of other sustainable innovations. In particular, the switch to the Ethereum blockchain's Proof-of-Stake protocol has shown that it is possible to reduce electricity consumption significantly. However, such a shift may increase the focus of power and reduce the network's security. Private, distributed blockchains could be the solution.
The issue of access by Swiss financial service providers to the Italian market, a process that is not progressing despite the signing in 2015 of the Roadmap for cooperation between the two countries, was also discussed in the Cluster. Several proposals were made in this regard, including a bilateral agreement along the lines of the one signed between Switzerland and Germany, cited as an example of successful cooperation for the two countries, which, however, would need to be adapted to the different regulatory environment that distinguishes Italy from Germany. In different historical phases, approaches between Switzerland and Italy on economic and tax issues have resulted from bilateral agreements or negotiations with the EU. Currently, the question is which path between the two is more appropriate. Despite the current deadlock on this issue, appreciation was expressed for the ongoing dialogue between the supervisory authorities of Switzerland and Italy. It was hoped that it would be a prelude to further progress on this subject, which cannot be separated from a renewed political initiative.
Finally, expectations were voiced for an increase in collaboration between the university hubs of Ticino and Lombardy, which are wealthy with excellence in the fields of finance, technology, big data, artificial intelligence and cyber security, the latter area placed by both the Federal Council and the European Union as a priority area for action to protect investors.
The Forum was sponsored by the Embassy of Switzerland in Italy, the Embassy of Italy in Switzerland, Limes - Rivista Italiana di Geopolitica- and the Avenir Suisse study centre, in collaboration with ISPI (Institute for International Policy Studies) and under the patronage of the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs and the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
A report of the two days of work dedicated to the Cluster will be made available on the Forum's website, https://forumdialogosvizzeraitalia.ch/, in the coming weeks.