IMA is still growing, continuing to innovate and invest, and with it the field of mechanical automation, whereas the Italian and European economies are having to cope with a period of low growth and recession.
In recent months, GDP forecasts have all been revised downwards. The International Monetary Fund is talking of a 1.9% decrease.
According to Confindustria's Research Centre, industrial production has been falling since the spring of 2011.
The fallout of all this on employment is worrying. There is talk of unemployment being around 10.1%, but youth unemployment has reached 36.2%.
The political crisis has led to a general decline in the country's institutions, which are looking worn out, often totally incapable of setting a good example of how to create a more sober society, one that is able to bring out the virtues and positive aspects of the day-to-day lives of individuals, families and communities.
It is clear that the situation is very complex and the tools we have are insufficient, perhaps because we are not doing exactly what we ought to be doing. Because if we do not rebuild relationships based on trust between businesses and institutions, society and politics, it will be increasingly difficult to endure the sacrifices that will have to be made.
The key to Italy remaining competitive is a radical reduction in public spending, but not only that. The steps being taken by the present government are heading in that direction, and we would ask them to continue in this way with perseverance and courage. But at the same time, we are well aware that it is not enough just to cut spending: it is also essential to spend intelligently, making choices, setting priorities, saving what is healthy and getting rid of the deadwood.
France and Germany, for example, decided not to cut and even to increase expenditure on certain items such as education, training and healthcare.
In any case, we have to bring down our country's public debt that has accumulated over the decades. As responsible citizens and entrepreneurs, we cannot leave this extremely heavy burden to our children. We need to relax this constraint which every year generates more than 70 billion euros of interest expense on government securities.
Just imagine if these resources could be used for the country's development, instead of being consumed by this obligation which we carry within ourselves and which, as I said, we cannot simply pass on to future generations.
This calls for sensitive policies, spending reviews that are implemented according to specific strategies. We have to save businesses and our youngsters, which means training, research and innovation, so that the enormous sacrifices we are facing produce a turnaround that will ensure our country a new era of prosperity and development.
Extract of Chairman Alberto Vacchi's report to the General Meeting of Unindustria Bologna on 17 September 2012.