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On October 27, 1962, Enrico Mattei died in the Pavia area, crashing aboard his plane which was about to land in Milan Linate. President Mattarella recalled the founder of Eni and defined him as one of the “builders of the Republic”.

Mattei, underlined the Head of State in a statement reported by the Agi news agency, made Eni “an important tool for the progress of the country. And to define a new order in international relations, overcoming any neo-colonial temptation. Mattei aimed for “equal dignity between the different actors, promoting and supporting peoples’ demands for liberation”. For Mattarella “Italy and Eni have become the interpreters of a constructive attitude of support for the ongoing decolonization process, as in the case of Algeria, for fair agreements in the mutual interest”.

The President of the Republic, Sergio Mattarella, during the inauguration of the ‘Enrico Mattei’ Garden in Algiers on November 7, 2021. Photo Ansa/Quirinale Paolo Giandotti

To remember the figure of Enrico Mattei was also the Prime Minister, Giorgia Meloni. In his government’s opening speech to the Chamber of Deputies on October 25, Meloni spoke of the need for a “Mattei plan” for Africa, in order to favor Italy’s energy supply. Returning to Mattarella, the President of the Republic explained how “the idea of ​​collaboration, which Enrico Mattei promoted at the international level, has brought great benefits to Italy. And, at the same time, it helped to allow the oil and gas producing countries to escape from the condition of minority in which they found themselves”.

Mattei, Italy and peace

Enrico Mattei has therefore made Italy, according to Sergio Mattarella, a “crossroads of peace dialogues”. “He made available his experience as an industrial director, giving impetus to reconstruction with a strength and leadership capacity that made him a symbol of the post-war production recovery in the country. His action has contributed to placing Italy at the crossroads of dialogues for peace and development cooperation. He courageously pursued his work, knowing full well what powers and what interests were against him. His example and his figure fully belong to the ranks of the builders of the Republic. »

Enrico Mattei. Photo Ansa

Mattei was assassinated

On October 27, 1962, at 6:57 p.m., the small Eni plane carrying Mattei with other people exploded in flight over Bascapè (Pavia) when the trolley let go, which activated a bomb placed inside the plane, when he has just started the landing phase towards Milan. Thus in the reconstruction of the program Atlantide by Andrea Purgatori on La7 broadcast on October 26. It was therefore without a shadow of a doubt an attack, according to the most recent reconstructions of what for decades was officially considered an “accident” shrouded in mystery. President Mattarella himself in his statement speaks of “a criminal attack”.

“The OAS wanted him dead”

The plane in which he was traveling, from Catania to Milan, of the president of Eni was sabotaged at the Sicilian airport probably by men of the OAS (Organization of the Secret Army). Clandestine far-right French paramilitary organization, active during the Algerian war to prevent its independence. Among the hypotheses that have been put forward, even before the courts, the OAS, as well as the mafia, Italian and American, and the so-called “seven sisters”, the big American and Anglo-Saxon oil companies, would have had convergences interests in eliminating Mattei. However, it was the French paramilitaries who carried out the attack. The president of Eni had established new, equal oil relations between Italy and Algeria, which was fighting for its independence from the colonial empire of Paris. He was also a personal friend of Ahmed Ben Bella, among the leaders of the Algerian National Liberation Front and then, in 1963, the first president of independent Algeria.

Enrico Mattei. Photo Ansa

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