Italy: Govt launches ‘cure Italy’ decree

Rome: The cabinet has issued its highly anticipated ‘cure Italy’ decree to offset the economic impact of the coronavirus epidemic.

Premier Giuseppe Conte said the government had passed a “mighty” 25 billion euro package “activating” 350 billion euros more of measures to ease the economic pain of the coronavirus and was building a “dam to protect businesses, families and workers.” “No one should feel abandoned, the State is there for them,” he said.

 “We can speak of an Italian model not only for the strategies to fight the virus but also of an Italian model for the strategy of economic response”, the premier said.

    “Let the EU follow us. The first signals are important. Italy is a promoter of a message to all the EU institutions,” he told a press conference.    “Italy is in the front line, the EU must follow us,” he reiterated.
 “We’ll have to simplify, innovate and lighten the tax burden,” Conte added.
 Conte said his fellow country people should be “proud to be Italians”.
    Economy Minister Roberto Gualtieri said “this is an initial measure and we will follow it up with another one in April”.

He said “we have decided to use all the 25 billion of net indebtedness approved by parliament” and said an added three and a half billion euros would go to the national health service and the civil protection department.

He said that 10 billion euros would safeguard jobs and that no one would lose their job.

There would also be help for the cargo and freight sectors, said Gualtieri.    The Eurogroup later Monday would “adopt our approach”, Gualtieri said.

He also stressed that this “March decree” had been framed with the contribution of the parliamentary opposition, saying “the country is united, the coronavirus will no win, Italy will win!”.    Civil Service Minister Fabiana Dadone said that, according to the decree, the public administration could “exempt” workers if they are unable to work remotely or take holidays.

She said that ‘smart working’ would become the routine and that competitive exams for civil service posts would be suspended for two months.    Labour Minister Nunzia Catalfo said there would be three billion euros for the self-employed and professionals “to safeguard the period of inactivity”.    There is also an intervention for Alitalia, which would become Treasury-controlled, she said.

Defence Minister Lorenzo Guerini said there would be an “extraordinary” enrolment of doctors and acquisition of material, while 1,000 litres of disinfectant a day were already being produced by a Florence military base.

Health Minister Roberto Speranza said that “you respond to an exceptional phase with exceptional measures”, saying that doctors and other health professionals would be supported but “we win with the contribution of everyone”.