The Italian government continues its efforts to contain the rise in electricity prices and mitigate the consequences it is having for citizens. After having taxed a little over a month ago with 10% the heaven-sent profits of the electricity companies, it has decided to increase that assessment to 25%. One way, he explained the Minister of Economy, Daniele Franco, during a press conference with several ministers, to obtain the necessary resources to help families without touching the budget or incurring any type of deficit. Mario Draghi’s government yesterday approved an aid package of 14,000 million euros, aimed at companies and consumers affected by the increase in costs derived from the war in Ukraine.
The Prime Minister, Mario Draghi, appeared on Monday at a long press conference to give an account of the entire aid package and some impressions on the conflict. Italy, highly dependent on Russian gas (imports from that country are around 40% of the total), has decided to speed up to find measures at the national level to relieve pressure on citizens. The new package includes an aid of 200 euros to about 28 million Italian families. An amount that will be paid —predictably during the month of July— through remuneration and pensions to income of up to 35,000 euros per year. Pending the joint intervention of the European Union, it is not ruled out that in the coming days some type of limitation of the rates paid by consumers through a price ceiling will also be approved.
The Italian government has already spent more than €20 billion this year so far to protect its economy from rising energy prices and has taken steps to reduce its dependence on Russian supplies. On the one hand, agreements have been reached with Algeria to increase the volume of gas supplied from that country and gradually reduce that which arrives from Moscow. But in addition to setting limits on the thermostat in homes and offices to save energy, Draghi also wants to speed up the creation of alternatives to gas. “The measures include reforms to rationalize and boost investments in renewable energy that will allow us to accelerate the transition to a green economy,” said the prime minister. “This will allow us to become independent of Russian gas.”
The announcement comes as the European Union is debating the advisability of an additional round of sanctions that would phase out Russian oil by the end of the year. The EU, for its part, is also trying to maintain a united front against Russia’s demand to pay for gas in rubles, which the bloc says would violate sanctions. Russia has already cut gas to two EU members – Poland and Bulgaria – who have refused to meet the demand for payment in rubles, arguing that the signed contracts are denominated in euros or dollars. Italy, in this sense, assures that it will remain aligned with the rest of the community countries and will respect the rules established by the European Commission.
He knows in depth all the sides of the coin.