Venerdì, 19 Ottobre 2018
ROME

Letta to bond with cabinet at Tuscan abbey 'retreat'

English
© ANSA

(By Denis Greenan).
Rome, May 7 - Big companies abroad have taken staff
out into the wild and made them shoot paint-balls at each other
to build team spirit.
Others have got them to combine their efforts in mock
TV-style quiz shows.
More recently, team-building activities have included
chariot racing, flash mobbing, human vs zombies face-offs, sumo
wrestling and even blindfold driving.
New Italian Premier Enrico Letta prefers a more
conventional approach, in this deeply religious country.
He is set to use the very Italian power of spiritual
seclusion to help forge his disparate cabinet into a closely
knit unit.
Letta, who was sworn in at the helm of an unprecedented
left-right coalition government nine days ago, hopes a day
thrown together in a Tuscan abbey will loosen knots and
strengthen bonds in an executive spanning his own centre-left
Democratic Party (PD) and ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi's People
of Freedom (PdL) Party, long foes until Italy's post-election
stalemate forced them to become strange bedfellows.
The cabinet ranges from such Berlusconi diehards as
Interior Minister Angelino Alfano, Constitutional Reform
Minister Gaetano Quagliariello and Infrastructure Minister
Maurizio Lupi, all lawyers, to PD new faces like Sports Minister
and former Olympic kayak champion Josefa Idem, Education
Minister and high-flying scientist Maria Chiara Carrozza and
Italy's first black minister, Congo-born Integration chief and
doctor Cecile Kyenge.
There are even more widely diverging characters among the
junior ministers and undersecretaries, including one who was
switched from equal opportunities to civil service after
anti-gay comments, but Letta stressed the upcoming huddle was
ministers only.
"Sunday and Monday 24-hour retreat in an abbey in Tuscany,
just ministers," he tweeted.
"To plan, get to know each other, bond. Everyone pays for
themselves".
The ministers will be breaking down barriers and building
bridges at 11th century Spineto Abbey near Siena, where Letta, a
practising Catholic and former Christian Democrat youth leader,
has already spent retreats and where cross-party seminars have
been staged.
Education Minister Carrozza, a bio-engineering lecturer at
Pisa's prestigious Sant'Anna university, was all for it.
"An abbey, great. We'll get a bit of rest and boost our
spirits," she said.
A retreat in Italy is not just spiritual, however.
Serie A teams often go into 24-year retreats at their
training bases before games and the Italian idiom Letta used for
'bond' was to "forge the locker room".
Italy coach Cesare Prandelli backed the idea.
"I've always liked Letta and I like him even more now," the
Azzurri chief said of Letta, a five-a-side soccer player in his
spare time who supports Berlusconi's glittering AC Milan.
"Choosing a method used by coaches is a smart move.
"I'm thrilled politics is using sporting logic to shape up.
"Let's hope it works, it's an interesting precedent," said
the Tuscan coach, who has made no secret of his admiration for
PD rising star and mayor of Florence, Matteo Renzi.
The retreat idea reportedly came from the political leader
of one of Italy's fiercest traditional soccer rivals, Germany.
"It was Frau Merkel who suggested it to Letta," political
sources said.
"She told him it would be a great way of making different
mindsets meld when they talked in Berlin last week".

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