The Italian government expects its debt to rise above 159.5 percent of GDP later this year, the highest figure in a century. To support its members the EU has agreed to a €672.5billion (£585billion) rescue package named the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF).
This consists of €312.5billion (£271.9billion) worth of grants and €360billion (£313billion) in loans.
EU members have been asked to submit recovery plans to access this money though they must meet strict criteria.
So far submissions have been received from Italy, Belgium, Austria and Slovenia.
Italy is asking for €191.5billion (£140.5billion) worth of grants and loans to support its recovery.
The proposed spending would be split over six areas including green revolution and digitalisation.
To access the RRF fund the European Commission is insisting countries focus their spending on certain areas.
They must commit to spend 37 percent of the money on climate change fighting initiatives and 20 percent on the digital economy.
The European Commission website states: “The Commission will assess the plans within the next two months based on the eleven criteria set out in the Regulation and translate their contents into legally binding acts.
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“This assessment will notably include a review of whether the plans contribute to effectively addressing all or a significant subset of challenges identified in the relevant country-specific recommendations issued in the context of the European Semester.”
Belgium, Austria and Slovenia have requested €5.9billion (£5.1billion), €4.5billion (£3.9billion) and €1.8billion (£1.6billon) respectively.
The European Commission website states: “The Italian plan is structured around six areas: digitalisation, innovation, competitiveness and culture; green revolution and ecological transition; infrastructure for sustainable mobility; education and research; cohesion and inclusion; health.
“Projects in the plan cover the entire lifetime of the RRF until 2026.”
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The Italian economy has been devastated by coronavirus which caused huge damage to its lucrative tourism industry.
In total 115,000 people have died in Italy since the pandemic began, the highest figure for any European country other than the UK.
Italy is currently fighting a third wave of coronavirus with many lockdown measures in place.
There is anger over the EU’s sluggish COVID-19 vaccine procurement programme which has put the bloc significantly behind the UK and US.
Earlier this month Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi predicted the country’s economy will grow by 4.1 percent this year and 4.5 percent in 2022.
On Friday Italian health minister Roberto Speranza announced the latest changes to the country’s colour coded lockdown system.
Valle D’Aosta has been upgraded from orange to the more dangerous red whilst Sardinia has made the reverse journey.
Basilicata, Calabria, Puglia and Sicily will all remain in orange.
The new measures take effect from Monday, May 3.