Italy COVID-19 – The working group on economic recovery appointed by Prime Minister Conte submitted its final report to the Government
The report, titled “Italy 2020-2022: Initiatives for recovery” includes a wide-ranging list of recommendations aimed at boosting Italy’s economy after the severe slump experienced in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. In particular, the report puts forward as many as 102 proposals across 6 priority areas (businesses and jobs; infrastructures and the environment; tourism, art, and culture; the public administration; education, research, and skills; welfare and family policy) with a view to achieving 3 overarching goals (digitalisation and innovation, green transition, and gender equality and social inclusion) to “make Italy stronger, more resilient, and more equal”.
Upon closer inspection, the report seems to fall short of its – perhaps too ambitious – objective of outlining a long-term policy programme to “bring about profound and lasting change of Italian economy and society”, as explicitly stated in its opening chapter. In fact, rather than a bold political plan, the report more closely resembles a white paper listing many long-awaited reforms while failing to identify any specific priorities, especially as regards where and how to channel investments under existing budgetary constraints. Thus, the report ends up merely mirroring the mainstream economic policy approach which has dominated the national institutional landscape for the better part of the last three decades.
Admittedly, the working group faced some not entirely negligible challenges in carrying out its duties, as its mandate was somewhat of a moving target. Initially, it was conceived by Prime Minister Conte as a political counterbalance to the Technical-Scientific Committee of the Civil Protection Department, so as to legitimise the lifting of the lockdown and the subsequent resumption of economic activities in the face of the overtly cautious approach of the scientific community. Nevertheless, the working group soon ended up toeing the line of the Technical-Scientific Committee. In a later stage, the working group was largely overshadowed by the activism of Regional Governments, which took the lead in the management of the reopening on businesses and the resumption of free movement, often dictating the agenda for the national Government regardless of any recommendations by the working group. Eventually, the working group’s mission was changed to laying out a long-term vision for Italy’s socio-economic future, but as anticipated it did not quite live up to its task.
You may download, below, Telos A&S summary, in English, of the key recommendations in the most relevant priority areas identified by the Report, in English, belowDownload it here