Italian lawmakers give green light to government's massive stimulus package.
Italy's parliament has approved the government's €222 billion European Union-funded recovery plan by a huge majority after the package was presented to the chamber of deputies and the senate this week by Italian premier Mario Draghi.
The National Plan of Recovery and Resilience (PNRR), funded largely by the EU, will see most of the money go towards improving Italy’s infrastructure as well as boosting environmentally-sustainable development and digital innovation.
Describing it as "an investment in the future and in the new generations," Draghi said the five-year plan would decide the fate and credibility of the country, and pave the way for otherwise "impossible, unthinkable" investments.
Draghi said that 40 per cent of the funds would be devoted to southern Italy, with the aim of "accelerating growth in the south, which has been still for half a century."
The plan includes ambitious reforms targeting Italy's public administration, taxation and justice system, together with schemes to boost employment opportunities for women and young people.
Italy is the main recipient of the EU's €750 billion post-pandemic recovery plan and is set to receive €191.5 billion in loans and grants between 2021 and 2026.
The government will inject a further €30.6 billion, taking the total package up to €222.1 billion, whose funds will address the economic damage caused by covid-19 as well as longer-term issues.
The EU's €750 billion post-pandemic plan to make the economy greener and more digital has been hailed by the European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen as "an opportunity of the century" for the bloc.
Italy will submit its plan to Brussels "by the end of this week" said economy minister Daniele Franco, meeting the EU deadline of 30 April.