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CLARA MOSCHINI

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Italian ASI. Roberto Battiston. The era of the physics professor ends

By the will of the Italian Lega

For a while AVIONEWS had reported findings on the legitimacy of the reassignment of Roberto Battiston as President of ASI (Italian Space Agency). The nomination for the second term fell in fact to political elections that took place, one month after the inauguration of the new government, with an act of the former Italian Minister of Education, University and Research Valeria Fedeli. Many considered this decision an unprecedented institutional slant. To this institutional slant is added a not positive assessment of Battiston to represent Italy in the European context: just to mention two examples, with him Italy has paid two billion of euros to the European Space Agency (ESA) but yielding significant orders in the industrial field to France and Germany. And, with the presidency Battiston Italy has lost two important directorates always in the ESA, not protecting the prestige and national interests as it should have been. In the history of Battiston, at national level it could also find a remarkable series of parliamentary questions, from the beginning of his presidency, questions concerning personnel policies and calls for tenders.

Signals of intolerance towards Battiston appeared evident even when the president of ASI was excluded as a member of the interministerial committee for policies relating to space and aerospace research, a clear downgrading of the ASI and its president.

Roberto Battiston era is therefore over: we are already talking about the candidacy of the former Chief of the Italian Air Force, General Pasquale Preziosa.

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