||This article may be expanded with text translated from the corresponding article in the Italian Wikipedia. (September 2009)|
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|President of Veneto|
|Preceded by||Giancarlo Galan|
|Italian Minister of Agriculture|
May 8, 2008 – April 16, 2010
|Prime Minister||Silvio Berlusconi|
|Preceded by||Paolo De Castro|
|Succeeded by||Giancarlo Galan|
March 27, 1968 |
|Political party||Liga Veneta–Lega Nord|
|Alma mater||University of Udine|
Luca Zaia was born in the Province of Treviso, on the 27th of March, 1968.
In 1993 he received a degree in the science of animal production at the veterinary college of the University of Udine, before attending a managerial course.
In 1995 he became Councilor for Agriculture for the Province of Treviso and in 1998 the youngest Provincial President in Italy, working in different sectors: agriculture, safety, tourism and education.
During his career as a public manager he implemented principles of economization that are concretely realized in such projects as the Strategic Plan of the Province of Treviso and a master planning project that involved major European cities including Barcelona, Frankfurt, Glasgow, Lyon, Stockholm, Seville, and Valencia.
In the March of Treviso, Zaia initiated a pilot plan for road safety that enabled Treviso—at the time the province with the highest number of road accidents—to reduce road accidents by 60 percent. Thanks to the awareness campaign on road safety the March of Treviso has claimed numerous international acknowledgments.
Zaia’s mission has always been to support territorial identities through various projects: promoting the creation of the Consorzio di tutela of the Radicchio di Treviso and the Castelfranco Veneto, by the creation of the first oenology university course in the country, and by outlining a successful master plan for the province.
From June 2005 to May 2008, while serving as Vice president of the Regional Committee of Veneto, he was in charge of the regional identity. Zaia has also been regional councilor for tourist and foreign trade policies, agricultural and zootechny policies, the rural development plans, the EU LEADER program, and economy and mountain development.
Minister of Agriculture
On the 8th of May 2008 Zaia became the Italian Minister of Agricultural, Food and Forestry Polices in the Berlusconi IV Cabinet. The main objective of his political action is to put agriculture and the real economy once again at the center of national and international debate. For this reason since he was appointed he has been personally involved in the EU debates and discussions. Brussels became his second home. Thanks to this punctual presence, Italy obtained from Europe more than 4.3 billion euro, to invest in innovation, quality and aggregation, and in measures that favor generational change and the return of young people to cultivating the land.
On an international level, after Zaia's nomination, Italy organized and welcomed the Venice fisheries summit, the Verona meeting on tobacco and the first agricultural G8 at Cison di Valmarino in province of Treviso.
The most obvious result of the Minister’s work in the EU has been the negotiation for the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) reform. Italy managed to obtain what it wanted in all the four main topics debated: the future of the milk quotas; modulation (i.e. the transfer of resources from direct aid to Rural Development); measures that support regional or sectoral problems (article 68) and the recovery of the unused funds.
Zaia was able to do what many ministers before him have not – finally obtain an increase in Italy’s milk quotas from the EU Agriculture Council of Ministers. In Italy, more than 8,404 dairy companies have been affected by the milk quotas, of which only 4,264 are still in business. Zaia’s tough negotiation with EU Commissioner Mariann Fischer Boel, led to a five percent increase, meaning that since April 2009, Italian dairy farmers have had an additional 620,000 tons of milk production, allowing for increased revenues and lower overproduction fines. Historically, Italy has exceeded its assigned milk quotas (and paid fines) because the 1983-assigned quotas were based on official production figures, which farmers significantly under-reported to the government. Italy’s entire 5-percent increase in its milk production quota will be effective April 2009. The increased quota will allow Italian producers to absorb the productive surplus, minimize future overproduction fines, and increase milk production worth 240 million Euros annually. Industry sources also speculate that the EU decision to grant Italy the five-percent milk quota increase up front is aimed more at reducing the super levy bill than providing Italy an incentive to produce more milk.
To protect the environment and to establish better coordination within the European Community, Minister Zaia has proposed a task force between the police forces of the Mediterranean Countries more at risk of fires, ready to intervene in case of an emergency.
Zaia had a strict zero tolerance policy against those who commit food fraud. He established additional regulations and closer collaboration between police forces which resulted in a total of 27 seizure operations from September 2008 to May 2009 ending with the seizure of products that were spoiled, expired, or of unknown origin or content.
Beside the increase in food controls, Zaia worked on an ad-hoc Bill that, within the strengthening of the competitiveness of the food sector (currently the DdL is under examination of the Chamber of Deputies - A.C.2260), contains new norms on the obligation to have on the labels the origin of food products, be it transformed or non transformed products. He became the spokesperson of the ‘do not lead to error’ philosophy. The new rules on labeling agrifood products will also have a deterrent function of the commercial behaviors commercially or the illegal ones that damage the consumers.
Regarding the environment, Zaia implemented a one year suspension of neonicotinoids (tanning seeds which are suspected to kill bees). Zaia also saved a 2 million euro fund for the environment that initially had been eliminated for budgetary reasons. To defend the environment of the single territories, under the Zaia’s guidance, the Conference State-Regions signed an understanding for the reorder of the Consortia of Reclamation that best answers the needs of the single territories.
Zaia also effected deep changes in personnel policies within his own ministry. He instituted new auditing procedures in all ministry offices for greater transparency. From June 2008 to March 2009, there was an average reduction in staff absenteeism of more than 50%. In addition, one director general's office and eight managing offices were eliminated in a cost-saving move. In December 2008, for the first time there was a “three year cost plan”, that fixed saving aims till 2011 and that from 2008 has already created an average saving of 2.5 million euro per year. 100 years after its foundation, moreover, a restructuring of the entire Palace of Agriculture has been started, in order to be more efficient, safe and save energy.
- "Italy Secures Extra Milk Quota of 620,000 Tonnes from EU". www.flex-news-food.com. Flex News. June 2, 2009. Retrieved May 22, 2010.
- web site Luca Zaia
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