EU Top Court Asks Italy to Free Lucrative Beach Licences Cartel.

The European Union’s top court ordered Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni’s government to open up the running of thousands of beaches to competition, after licenses worth billions of euros in revenue were doled out for years without fair tendering processes.
On Thursday, the EU Court of Justice said Italian beach concessions can’t be renewed automatically, and should be assigned with a competitive mechanism of tenders, adding pressure on the government to make changes that have been demanded for years.
The EU court ruling is binding, and the European Commission, the bloc’s executive arm, could take legal action against Italy if Meloni’s government doesn’t comply.
“Concessions authorizing the exploitation of Italian beaches may not be renewed automatically but must be subject to an impartial and transparent selection procedure,” the court wrote.
The EU ruling is the latest step in a saga between Brussels and Rome that dates back to 2006, when a new directive on competition was approved that would affect about 30,000 beach operators across Italy.
Even if the EU framework requires regular and competitive public tenders to assign the lucrative licenses, successive Italian governments have resisted opening the market due to the strong lobbying effort by current beach operators who argue that allowing public tenders would drive them out of business and put jobs at risk. 

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