Italy Gives Final Green Light to Recovery Plan With EU Funds

Italy’s government gave its final approval to a package worth about 260 billion euros ($315 billion) to salvage the economy and address longstanding structural issues, drawing chiefly on European Union funds.

A cabinet meeting hosted by Prime Minister Mario Draghi backed the recovery plan, which is due to be sent to Brussels by a Friday deadline, according to officials, who declined to be named on a confidential issue.

The blueprint drafted by Draghi draws heavily on Italy’s share of grants and loans under the EU’s pandemic recovery fund, the largest portion allotted to a single country. The ex-head of the European Central Bank is counting on the funds to jump-start an economy that contracted 9% last year under the weight of the virus outbreak and a series of lockdowns.

The new plan, which includes a 30.6 billion-euro Italian state fund for infrastructure projects, also sets out ambitious deadlines for reforms to boost competition, cut red tape, speed up the judicial system, and reduce gender inequality.

The package allocates about 40% of Italy’s share of EU funding to green programs and 25% to digital projects, with priorities including infrastructure and high-speed trains.

The government estimates that the plan will boost economic output by about 3.6% by 2026. The recovery plan comes on top of over 170 billion euros in economic stimulus passed by Italian governments since the start of the pandemic last year.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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