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    Coronavirus: Italy sets aside 3.6 billion euros in aid

    Credit: Belga

    The Italian economic minister announced he had set aside 3.6 billion euros in aid for all the sectors affected by the new Coronavirus epidemic on Sunday. 

    3.6 billion euros is equivalent to about 0.2% of Italy’s GDP.  

    “Between now and next Friday, we will adapt a law so we can support the economy for all the affected territories and sectors across the country,” Roberto Gualtieri said in an interview published in La Republica on Sunday.

    This aid package is expected to be endorsed by the Italian Parliament and the EU. It could take several different forms, such as tax credit for businesses. “I have no reason to think Brussels will refuse our request,” Gualtieri stated.

    The Minister also said a possible European action plan would be discussed during a Eurogroup (made up of the 19 finance ministers from the Eurozone countries) meeting on 16 March. 

    The Italian public deficit for 2019 will be announced by the National Statistics Institute on Monday. It is expected to be between 1.6 and 1.7% of the GDP. He described Italian public finances as “very good.” However, he did admit the Coronavirus epidemic would have a negative effect the economy for the first trimester of 2020. 

    The Italian government announced a series of new aid measures on Friday, which they will put into effect immediately.

    They are aimed at supporting businesses and populations around the 11 small towns in Northern Italy that have been quarantined because of the virus. 

    Sarah Johansson
    The Brussels Times