Italy adopts new €25B coronavirus recovery package – POLITICO


Italy’s Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte | François Walschaerts/AFP via Getty Images

The Italian government Friday adopted a new set of economic measures, worth €25 billion, including an extension of wage subsidies and a ban on layoffs, along with a further relaxation of coronavirus containment measures.

“With these measures we mainly protect employment, support workers, businesses, ease tax deadlines for citizens and businesses, help regions, local authorities and the South,” Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said at a press conference.

Under the new decree, companies won’t be allowed to lay off employees as long as they are benefiting from the coronavirus-related wage-support scheme, which will run for another 18 weeks or — if used intermittently — until the end of the year. Alternatively, companies that restart activities and forego state support will benefit from four months of fiscal breaks.

The decision comes after bitter negotiations between trade unions and the labor ministry on one hand, who pushed for the extension, and the economy ministry. Experts warned extending such a ban — which was due to expire in mid-August — risked simply pushing higher unemployment levels further down the line.

Among many other measures, the new package also extended a €400 one-off payment introduced in May to help low-income families, provided for tax cuts for businesses in southern Italy, provided billions of euros to local and regional authorities and extended a moratorium for the reimbursement of loans to SMEs until January 2021.

The government also extended the obligation to wear masks in closed public and private spaces and to keep one meter of social distancing until September 7. The government also allowed cruise ships to start form August 15, and fairs and events from September 1.

“We do not want new restrictions, on the contrary,” Conte said, while pleading for caution. Italy on Friday registered 552 new cases compared to the previous day.





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