Draghi’s Plan to Cut Italian Red Tape Clears Hurdle for EU Aid

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(Bloomberg) — Prime Minister Mario Draghi’s cabinet approved a plan to reduce bureaucratic obstacles in Italy, a key commitment he made to unlock the first 24 billion euros ($29 billion) in European Union recovery funds.

The “simplification” decree approved late Friday seeks to facilitate public works projects and streamline tender procedures, a long-time thorn in the side of governments seeking to spur growth.

The measures also hasten a nationwide expansion of broadband service, speed up authorization of renewable energy projects and boost female and youth employment. A board to oversee management of Italy’s about 200 billion euros in EU funds is included in the decree.

Though ambitious in scope, Draghi’s plan will ultimately be judged by its effectiveness. Numerous past governments, including the one run by his predecessor, Giuseppe Conte, tried with limited success to streamline Italy’s bureaucracy.

Italy will be the biggest recipient of EU funds under the recovery program, and Draghi is seeking to use the money to spur an economic rebound, after growth shrank 8.9% last year due to pandemic lockdowns.

His government earlier approved a 40 billion-euro stimulus package that extends economic aid to businesses and families.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.


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