Giuliano Amato is one of Italy’s best-known politicians. He was prime minister of Italy twice—first from 1992 to 1993 and then from 2000 to 2001. In 2006, he was named minister of the Interior in Romano Prodi’s government. He studied law at the University of Pisa and received a master’s degree in comparative law at the School of Law of Columbia University in New York. Mr. Amato has taught at universities both throughout Italy and in America, and he has continued to teach even while serving in office. He has been full professor at the universities of Modena, Perugia and Florence. He is currently a part-time professor in the law department at the European University Institute (EUI). Daniel Peterson, intern at The Florentine (and student of Mr. Amato) recently sat down with him in his office in San Domenico.
As prime minister you dealt with many economic issues; as the current minister of the Interior, what are the biggest challenges you face?
The European landscape has completely changed, not only regarding the financial world but also, because of new events, involving terrorism and immigration. These two phenomena have nothing to do with each other, and it is very dangerous for public opinion to put them together. These issues are my primary responsibility, which makes the job very fascinating, but very difficult.
Can you tell us about the security package you recently passed, and its implications for Florence and other local governments?
Many more things are said than are done. This idea that our mayors will become sheriffs is nonsense, just nonsense. The mayors are now empowered to adopt urgent measures for the protection of public safety. ‘Public safety’ has had a limited meaning. If a house or a bridge falls down, traffic around it must be stopped in order to prevent accidents. This notion of ‘safety’ is quite restrictive. We extended power of the mayors to adopt urgent measures to ensure urban security, which is a wider notion. It implies safeguarding against risks to the citizens, not only from falling buildings or falling bridges, but from other, different kinds of situations. While extending this power, we also improved the connection between the municipal authority and the province, and between neighboring municipalities—that is all.