Resolution no. 258 of 28 May 2024 represents a turnaround in the management of maritime state concessions In Calabria. With this act, in fact, the Calabria Region has formally declared that, for its local authorities, there is no general obligation to apply the directive “Bolkestein” (2006/123/EC), i.e. European legislation which requires the introduction of competitive selection procedures for the assignment of concessions in contexts of limited resources natural resources. This position is based on a territorial reconnaissance which highlighted how the coastal resources Calabrians do not fall into the category of “scarce” resources, according to the criteria established by the Directive. The Region has therefore interpreted that the abundance of maritime resources available exempts local authorities from applying mandatory tender processes. Nonetheless, the responsibility for the final decision on the methods for assigning concessions is left to the autonomy of the local authorities themselves. These can, if they deem it appropriate, introduce tenders if they identify specific factors such as the existence of a significant cross-border economic interest or other conditions peculiar to the local context which could fall within the exceptions provided for by European legislation. The regulatory context is further complicated by the fact that the Bolkestein Directive not only promotes competition and theefficiency through transparent and non-discriminatory selection mechanisms, but also requires that authorizations be temporary and not automatically renewable. This principle is aimed at preventing situations of monopoly or undue advantage by pre-existing operators, thus promoting a fair competitive environment. For the Calabria Region, the situation is interpreted in a unique way thanks to a mapping carried out by it, which revealed the wide availability of coastal resources, corroborated by local legislation which imposes the reservation of at least 30% of the coastal areas for the public use. This ensures that there is sufficient access to coastal resources, reducing the need for additional restrictions typically motivated by scarcity. Finally, although the Region provides a general regulatory framework and an interpretation of the European directive, the final decision lies with each local authority, which must evaluate the applicability of the directive taking into account the territorial specificities and any particular conditions that may emerge. This flexible approach reflects the diverse geographic and socio-economic reality of the region, allowing for regulatory adaptations that better respond to local needs.

In this way, the Calabria Region not only conforms to European standards transparency And impartiality but it also introduces a level of discretion that allows for more careful and targeted management of natural resources and the economic opportunities resulting from their exploitation. How many and which other regions will follow this path?