Belgium, (Brussels Morning Newspaper) Italy has prepared aid to companies worth up to 7 billion euro to help them deal with rising energy prices and effects of sanctions against Russia.
Representatives of unions noted after a meeting with government officials on Monday that new aid will come on top of aid programmes worth some 15 billion euro that the government put in place since January, Reuters reports.
The Italian government implemented measure earlier this year to help companies and households deal with rising prices of natural gas, petrol and electricity.
Italy’s growth outlook has dropped sharply after the war in Ukraine broke out, partly due to exposure of Italian banks to Russia and the country’s reliance on Russian energy imports.
According to a draft decree, the Italian government is planning to extend the excise duty cut on fuel, which would otherwise expire this week, to 8 July.
The government is also planning to offer guarantees on loans and provide companies hit with EU sanctions against Russia with grants worth up to 400,000 euro.
Unions want more
Maurizio Landini, head of the Italian General Confederation of Labour, noted after the meeting that he is not happy with the government’s plan and expressed belief that it needs to do more.
The government is planning to finance the aid programme without new borrowing, noting that spending was lower than expected and tax revenues exceeded expectations.
While unions and coalition partners are pushing for more borrowing, the Ministry of Economy and Finance wants to reduce deficit to 5.6% of GDP this year, down from 7.2% in 2021.
Prime Minister Mario Draghi’s Office pointed out that he is to present plans for weaning Italy off Russian natural gas imports and speeding up the green transition.
He is to hold a press conference after the emergency meeting of the bloc’s energy ministers where they are to discuss the EU’s energy situation.
The meeting was called after Russia stopped supplying natural gas to Bulgaria and Poland over their refusal to pay for deliveries in roubles.
According to government officials, Italy is planning to reactivate coal-fired power plants and ration natural gas is necessary.