Mario Draghi will next week unveil a €221bn recovery package for a radical restructuring of Italy’s economy as it seeks to bounce back from its deepest recession since the second world war.
The plan, which features big-ticket investments in high-speed rail and green energy as well as fully digitalising the country’s public administration, will draw on the EU’s pandemic recovery fund.
Italy and Spain are expected to be the two largest recipients of grants from the programme. Draghi’s plan, which should be approved by the Italian cabinet this week, involves €30bn of Italian budgetary resources and €191.5bn of loans and grants from the Next Generation EU scheme, people briefed on the plans said.
The plan is critical not only to Italy’s hopes of lifting its laggard growth and accelerating its transition towards a lower-carbon, higher-tech economy, but also to the credibility of the EU’s Covid-19 recovery effort.
Separately, Germany’s constitutional court cleared the way for the country’s adoption of the EU recovery fund.
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The UK’s autumn target for finding two effective antiviral drugs to treat Covid-19 could be difficult to meet, scientists said.
Slovakia has urged the EU for more flexibility in its vaccine distribution…