1993 – 2003 Decentralisation and Privatisation

In the 1990s, a United Europe became the goal for Italy and other European countries. The Maastricht Treaty, which was signed in 1992 and came into force in 1993, set a series of parameters for remaining within the European Monetary System, entering into the monetary union and consequently the single currency. In order to gain access, borrowing rates were reduced and resources were freed up so that enterprises could invest productively. The 1990s were also a time of privatisation, thanks to which mass financial capitalism developed.

The economy was healthy, public accounts were in order compared to the situation at the outset, modernisation was underway and the industrial sector was that of a great power that systematically addressed internationalisation and the transition from Europe to the World.

Meeting in Rimini on legislation for the trade fair system

Internationalisation was achieved through exhibitions. Italian enterprises, over 90 percent of which were small, went to exhibitions to find interlocutors that they would never have been able to meet individually. Enterprises from the manufacturing districts, both allies and competitors, were able to express a synthesis of skills, product chains and sector synergies at exhibitions.

In order to operate at their best, modern exhibition centres capable of attracting exhibitors, entrepreneurs, customers and the general public were required, along with efficient facilities, physical and telecommunication infrastructures, roads, railways, metro networks, airports, telecommunication hubs and hospitality centres.

Dante Stefani President of AEFI and Rodolfo Lopez Pegna, Secretary General

AEFI worked to:

  • assist the internationalisation process, also by means of specific missions for the exhibition system;
  • assist its members in the process of compliance with Italian safety and procurement regulations, of particular importance in complying with European directives;
  • offer the sector a regulatory framework, which became increasingly necessary following the introduction of Italian Legislative Decree 112 of March 31, 1998-“Transferral of administrative functions and tasks of the State to the regions and local authorities, implementing Chapter I of Law no. 59 of 15 March 1997”.

During this decade, the Association was chaired by Gino Colombo, Secretary General of Fiera Milano who held office until 1996, Dante Stefani, Chairman of Fiere di Bologna, and, from December 2001, Piergiacomo Ferrari, CEO of Fiera Milano Spa.