Public Policy Dynamics Italy #8

by RPP colleagues

Health and Politics in Italy

Total COVID-19 cases:3,870,131
14-day total COVID-19 cases per 100,000:338.5
14-day change:-150.9
Total COVID-19 deaths:116,927
14-day rise:5,897
  • The Italian Recovery Plan is ready. Or very close to it. This week and next week the Plan will be discussed in the Council of Ministers and then in Parliament, to be sent to the European Commission by the deadline of 30 April 2021. A big focus of the plan is on green innovation, infrastructure, but also public administration, justice, regulatory simplification and North-South gap.
  • In the Recovery Plan, in the area of health, the allocations of the previous government were confirmed, totalling €19.7 billion. Meanwhile, three motions of no confidence have been filed in the Senate against Health Minister Roberto Speranza.
  • The Council of Ministers has approved the new decree-law in force from 26 April until 31 July to contain the spread of Covid-19. Prime Minister Mario Draghi spoke of "reasoned risk" in reference to the decisions taken with this decree. However, the decree brought some fragmentation to government ranks, with the League opposing some of the measures taken and therefore abstaining from the vote.

Politics

  • The Recovery Plan for €221.5 billion is ready. In addition to the €191.5 billion of European funds to be committed by 2026, there will also be €30 billion from the national complementary fund to finance infrastructure projects, that can be carried out even beyond the six years envisaged by the Next Generation EU.
  • The draft document (still under discussion) consists of 200 pages and 500 graphics, divided into 16 spending categories with six general missions: digitalisation, innovation, competitiveness and culture; green "revolution" and ecological transition; infrastructure for sustainable mobility; education and research; social inclusion and cohesion; and health. The largest share, as envisaged by the European Commission's guidelines, is earmarked for the ecological transition. The objective is to direct 40% of the funds to the South. Of the 16 categories of expenditure, the largest is the almost €30 billion earmarked for energy efficiency and infrastructure renovation. This is followed by more than €28 billion for railways. Five reforms are planned: public administration, justice, taxation, regulatory simplification and competition. The growth of the economy should serve, in particular, to reduce North-South inequalities and to encourage the employment of women and young people.
  • On Friday 23 April there will be a summit with Draghi and the technical ministers most interested in the National Recovery and Resilience Plan, and tomorrow the Council of Ministers will give the green light. Next week, Draghi will present it to Parliament and then, on 30 April, the plan will be sent to the European Commission. If the plan is approved, by the summer there will be an advance of the first €27 billion (13%) to be invested. The rest will come in subsequent six-monthly disbursements that will depend on the actual implementation of the projects. Some details (especially political ones) on the governance of the Plan are still missing, but it is confirmed that the Ministry of the Economy will be entrusted with the task of monitoring the trend of expenditure and the implementation of investments and reforms. On the other hand, the composition of the body, which will report to Palazzo Chigi and exercise political supervision over the plan, remains open. Apart from the technical ministers, the majority parties are calling for the presence of "their" ministers on a rotating basis, depending on the issues being examined. The decision will come in May with a decree linked to the plan.
  • However, the public administration reform will be the first reform needed to make the plan work, and so this too will come in a decree-law that Minister Renato Brunetta is working on. Without an efficient structure, the projects would risk not being put into practice.

 

Health

  • Three motions of no confidence have been filed in the Senate against the Health Minister Roberto Speranza. This was announced by the right-wing Brothers of Italy (FdI), party led by Giorgia Meloni. The party also informed that the 33 signatures needed to file the motion, as required by the Rules of the Senate, have been reached. The first motion was signed by the leader of the Brothers of Italy group in the Senate, Luca Ciriani, the second by Gianluigi Paragone, leader of Italexit, and the third by Mattia Crucioli, for “Alternativa C'è”.
  • In the meantime, the final version of the Recovery Plan is ready for examination by the Council of Ministers. For health, the allocations of the previous government have been confirmed, for a total of €19.7 billion, plus €0.5 billion to be charged to Mission no. 6 - Health but placed under the jurisdiction of the Mur. In the area of health, the resources for Community Homes have been halved, dropping to €2 billion from the €4 billion originally planned. These resources have been partially absorbed by home care, where investments have almost doubled. All these funds, which total €19.7 billion (confirming the Conte Government's allocation for healthcare), must be added to a further €1.7 billion financed by REACT-EU.

 

Covid-19

  • The Council of Ministers approved the new decree-law to contain the spread of Covid-19. The new decree will be in force from 26 April until 31 July, when the state of emergency will also expire (thus extended for three months). Prime Minister Mario Draghi spoke of "reasoned risk" in reference to the decisions taken with this decree.
  • The text is a compromise among the different positions of the majority, with the Health Minister Roberto Speranza still recommending "prudence” and the centre-right and the League in favour of greater flexibility for these measures. Indeed, the League abstained from the vote, mainly because they did not agree with some choices considered "illogical and punitive" for some business. It can be seen how small fractures are beginning to emerge within this vast government majority.
  • Some of the main measures include the return of the so-called "yellow zones" (regions where the measures applied are less restrictive), the high schools can return to at least 70% attendance, and for universities, the decree provides that from 26 April to 31 July in the yellow and orange zones, activities will be carried out primarily in attendance. In the red zones, it is recommended that first-year students in particular be encouraged to attend. Restaurants will also be open in the evening, but only outdoors (from 1 June they will also be open indoors) and the curfew will remain at 10 pm. There is also the green light for theatres, cinemas, concert halls and museums. From 1 June, it will also be possible to go to the stadium with no more than 1,000 people.
  • Finally, the decree introduces the "green Pass", which will allow people to move between red and orange regions. Green Passes are available for those who have completed the vaccination cycle (lasting six months from the end of the prescribed cycle), those who have fallen ill with Covid-19 and recovered (lasting six months from the certificate of recovery) and those who have carried out a molecular test or rapid test with a negative result (lasting 48 hours from the date of the test).

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