It is absolutely necessary to prevent the pandemic crisis from being followed by an economic depression. There is no time to waste, and the considerable resources that the European Union has put in place must be used to the best. With these words the Minister of Economy, Roberto Gualtieri, summarizes the National Reform Program (Pnr), that is the plan that is usually attached to the April Economic and Financial Document, and which this year arrives late due to the pandemic. But this Pnr also traces the essential lines of the Recovery Plan, the plan that will serve the government to ask for aid in the context of the Next generation EU, writes Gualtieri. Decisive resources. In fact, according to the proposal of President Ursula von der Leyen, Italy could go 173 billion, of which 82 billion without a grant (but there is still no unanimous agreement of the EU countries, as necessary). The PNR goes ahead and announces that the government will present the Recovery Plan in Brussels in October. It will be based on the relaunch of investments, on an increase in spending on research and education and on reforms aimed at increasing competitiveness, equity and sustainability.
Investments, target 3% of GDP
The target is a level of public investment above 3% of GDP, against 2.3% in 2019. Other resources will come, says the government, from the fight against tax evasion (the government excludes amnesties) and from a review of public spending . On early retirements with Quota 100, which expire at the end of 2021, the government will evaluate the choices made in the light of the long-term sustainability of the social security system and public debt. The success of the plan, it says, will depend on the system reforms. This is why the simplification law decree is decisive for the government. That could go to the council of ministers, today or tomorrow, with the same Pnr, but only if the contrasts between the Democratic Party and the 5 Stars on the contracts are overcome. The PNR (138 pages), divided into three strategic lines: modernization; ecological transition; social and territorial inclusion, gender equality. Investments in telecommunications, railways, roads, bridges, airports, ports and intermodalities will be strengthened. Among the objectives: a completely digital country, with the provision of a contribution to families for fast connections and the purchase of tablets and PCs (maximum 500 euros with Isee up to 20 thousand euros, 200 with higher Isee); high-speed trains to guarantee access times to Rome of no more than 4 and a half hours. And introduction, within two years, of optical fiber in all state schools. Discounted health enhancement. The government will evaluate the EU financing options (therefore also the MES) in the light of considerations of merit and financial impact. The revival of Ilva has been confirmed but decarbonised. There will be an overall reform of direct and indirect taxation (personal income tax and VAT), reducing the effective rates on labor income and favoring the middle classes and families with children.