Milan mounts London road show to attract investment

High-power delegation seeks Brexit advantages.

Milan has sent a delegation of senior officials to London to showcase the advantages of the city for companies and organisations considering moving from Britain after its exit from the European Union which was officially triggered on 29 March.

Foreign minister Angelino Alfano, economy minister Pier Carlo Padoan, Milan mayor Beppe Sala, Lombardy regional governor Roberto Maroni and regional councillor for the economy Massimo Garavaglia are the top-level speakers at a road show under the heading “Italy now and next – Milan at the heart of tomorrow's Europe: attraction, expertise and investments”.

The timing of the bid to attract relocation to Milan could hardly be more significant. Already on the day after last July’s referendum in UK supporting the Brexit proposal, Sala had shown a similar sense of the moment with a lightning trip to the British capital to contact two EU agencies with a view to attracting them to Milan.

Since then, former prime minister Matteo Renzi also put his weight (and a cash boost) behind the “Pact for Milan” designed to make it “the city of reference for Italy in the world”.

On Wednesday 29 March the high-powered delegation met business people, EU agency officials and other stakeholders at an event organised by the Italian embassy in London at the Bloomberg network headquarters. The event has a twofold aim: confirming Milan’s official candidature to host the European Medicines Agency (EMA), already mooted during Sala’s previous visit, and exploring the possibility of transferring the Euroclearing head office to the city. This latter agency provides services to support the derivatives market in euros, and already has a branch office in Milan.

Chamber finance committee chairman Maurizio Bernardo said on Wednesday that a law is being prepared for parliament to give Milan a special status as a key economic and financial area.

Milan faces competition from Vienna and Copenhagen for the relocation of the EMA. A decision by the agency is expected in June. Among the arguments put forward by Milan are a package of incentives and help for about a thousand members of families of EMA employees. Maroni and Sala also stated they were considering offering the EMA the “Pirellone” skyscraper, which currently houses the Lombardy regional administration, as a deal-breaker.