“Yesterday there was a meeting with the representatives of the majority, we started to think about the range of possibilities for the next action, we’ll update next week. That Sure is a path already activated, I think it is probable that we will ask you to activate it. The Mes is not changed nothing will be in account with the minister for Gualtieri and the Ragiooniere of the State.” This is explained by the premier Giuseppe Conte responding to a question on the interview in The Print of the chancellor Merkel, and in particular on the invitation to use all Eu instruments in the field.
Italy should use the Esm? “It is a decision the Italian,” replies Angela Merkel to the Sueddeutsche Zeitung, pointing out that the tools of anti-crisis have not been created because they remain unused. “We have created instruments, through the Eib, the Mes lines of credit in the prevention, or the rules of the redundancy fund with the Sure. These tools can be used by everyone, and not we created them and to leave them unused,” said in an interview published on German newspaper tomorrow.
Minister Roberto Gualtieri, the May decree struggles to see the light. Contrasts weigh in the majority on some central issues. The most important concerns state intervention in support of businesses. Do we have to prepare for a new phase of massive state presence in the economy? «No invisible hand can ever shelter alone a global crisis of this magnitude. The state has a duty to intervene in defense and support of workers and businesses. Nobody wants to nationalize the economy, but interventions are needed that are both protective and stimulating our production system. It is what is happening in the world, and it is what we are doing in Italy with interventions whose size is unprecedented in republican history ».
With entrepreneurs, the frost seems to have fallen. The designated president Carlo Bonomi defines absurdity that the state first makes companies indebted and then proposes to enter the capital; but above all that government intervention cannot be all debt and subsidies. The subsidies will end and we will find ourselves with a huge debt. Can you help us understand what is the meaning of a 155 billion maneuver? What is the right balance between loan and non-repayable contribution? “This government considers the issue of the vitality of Italian companies to be absolutely central, that we all want to remain the beating heart of our economy. We have always said that state-guaranteed liquidity is necessary but not sufficient. For this reason, in addition to providing grants and subsidies to rents to smaller companies for almost ten billion, we will guarantee support in the form of equity or hybrid capital instruments to medium-large companies in difficulty, for which the lost fund it is not allowed ».
Will this support be in line with the new European rules that provide for specific conditions both on the timing and the remuneration of the state support and on the bonus and dividend regime of the companies that use it? «Sure, this will happen through a destined assets of 50 billion conferred to the Cassa Depositi e Prestiti. Furthermore, I would like to point out that the involvement of Cdp in the purchase of temporary minority shareholdings in the capital of companies is also one of the proposals that Confindustria sent us. As for SMEs, instead, we will provide for strong tax incentives for re-capitalization, a public guarantee on a part of the new capital, and the possibility of receiving a capital contribution in the form of a hybrid security that does not include any participation in governance, and a part the value of which can be transferred free of charge to companies that have invested in innovation and sustainability and retained employment. It is an organic and coherent set of interventions that will be among the largest and most ambitious in Europe. We are engaged in a constructive dialogue with Confindustria to further strengthen it ».
What development measures will enter the decree? The decree was created to grant bonuses for April but in mid-May it is not yet in the Official Journal. What did the state learn from the problems with the procedures of the previous measures? “The timing was conditioned by the delay with which the EU Commission adopted the new rules on aid to businesses, which constitute the heart of the decree together with the release of investments and simplification of administrative procedures. The new INPS allowance for self-employed and seasonal workers will be paid automatically in just a few days to the over 3.7 million people who have already received it without the need for a new request, and we count that the non-refundable contribution, which the Agency will provide of revenue, arrivals to businesses by early June. Of course, it was frustrating to note that a part of the resources allocated promptly on March 17, with the dl Cura Italia, got bogged down in the maze of bureaucracy, I refer in particular to the Cig in derogation, for which two million workers are still waiting for the payment. With the prize Conte we asked INPS and the Ministry of Labor to prepare simplification measures for a procedure that is obviously too complex “.
In Def, the government expects Italy to have a 155% debt this year. The EU Commission expects almost 160%. The ECB is buying BTPs on the market by supporting the prices of our securities. But the German Constitutional Court has ruled that the ECB has probably left the seed of its mandate. Is there a risk that the ECB’s action will weaken? What would happen if markets lost confidence in Frankfurt interventions? «Independence from the ECB is in no way bound by national courts and is guaranteed by EU law, on which the only body entitled to express itself is the Court of Justice. For Italy these principles are fundamental. The action of the ECB will continue with unchanged efficacy in support of the European economy and financial stability and I am sure that the German government and the Bundesbank, recipients of this singular judgment, will be able to provide the Karlsruhe court with the clarifications requested “. The Treasury department is imagining a new specific tool for retail investors and families. Broadly speaking, how will it differ from Btp Italia and how will it be aimed at financing the expenses for overcoming the Covid crisis? «Now we are very focused on a good outcome of the BTP Italia issue scheduled for the next few days. We are also working on a new product for retail that will have different characteristics from the Btp Italy, but which, like the Btp Italy, will finance the expenses to face the Covid crisis and boost the economy ».
What happened to the Green bond project? Was it paused? «No, the technical work is going on. In the coming months, it will be a matter of finding a suitable market window for the launch of the first title ».
Will Italy use the State-saving Fund or will it weigh the no advanced by M5S? «It is positive that from 1st June the Mes will be able to offer all countries a new 10-year financing line for 2% of GDP at a rate close to zero for direct and indirect healthcare and prevention costs linked to Covid, without additional conditions present and future. It is a safety net whose availability contributes to strengthening financial stability. If we evaluate the appropriateness of its use, Parliament will naturally be involved ».
At what stage are the negotiations for the establishment of the Recovery Fund? “We are committed to making it operational already in the second half of 2020 and having such dimensions as to contribute significantly to the revitalization of the economy and to the support of the territories and sectors most affected”.
How is the European project coming out of this unprecedented crisis? Beyond the North-South opposition, for those who believe in Europe, could this not be the time to make reasonable proposals for strengthening institutions, such as a common fiscal policy capable of competing with the sovereign camp? «After an initial inadequate reaction, there was an important qualitative leap and tools are being developed that would have been unthinkable before the crisis: just think about the fact that the EU will finance itself on the markets to support common policies. It is essential that this momentum does not diminish and that the innovations under discussion live up to expectations and translate into permanent strengthening of economic governance so that Europe can relaunch its own project ».
Before the emergency, the government was facing serious industrial crises starting from Alitalia and Ilva. The Alitalia case seems to be channeled towards a 3 billion nationalization. What are the plans for the Taranto Ilva instead? «On Ilva we started the dialogue with Mittal for the co-investment of the state in the steel company in Taranto. We will also soon face the redundancy issue, we said that there will be no layoffs but there will be an extraordinary layoff for restructuring. We must put Taranto in a position to produce steel with innovative methods, the pre-reduced plan and the electric furnace for the production of green steel with reduced emissions is an important industrial policy project for which we will also use EU funds “.
About banks. Loans guaranteed by the state to businesses are struggling. His government colleague Patuanelli claims that there are banks that slow down disbursements. In turn, the bankers ask to be exempted from liability in case of default of the companies that have received the loan. Where is the short circuit? «The data are clearly improving, but not yet satisfactory. We are almost 130,000 loans for which the Mediocredito Centrale guarantee has been requested for an amount exceeding 6.8 billion, while for the Sace guarantee addressed to larger companies there are currently about 250 investigations opened by banks for as many operations of financing for a total value of approximately 18 billion, which will just receive the state guarantee in 48 hours as soon as they are completed. The numerous examples of timely disbursement of loans demonstrate that the legislation allows very rapid procedures, and it is therefore unjustifiable that there are cases in which this does not happen and the individual branches require unnecessary documentation or prove more rigid than necessary. We are ready for further regulatory interventions but this should not be an alibi for anyone. However, it is good to remember that thanks to the moratorium introduced in Cura Italia, over 1.6 million loans and mortgages have been frozen to almost 900,000 families and over 650,000 businesses for a total amount of almost 180 billion euros “.
Firms are demanding above all sburocratizations. Also on this the government has announced interventions. With what priorities? «With the collaboration of various sectors of the government and the coordination of Palazzo Chigi, measures are being developed on a broad spectrum in various sectors, starting with construction and procurement. After the support and the injection of liquidity, the easing of procedures and burdens to work and produce must also arrive, eliminating in the sectors also regulated by European standards that unnecessary surplus that has weighed down the whole system. Urgent measures to liberalize and simplify all administrative procedures affecting citizens and businesses in various fields are also being considered, putting trust in citizens and in what they declare first. Some of these measures will already be anticipated in the relaunch decree, while the bulk will flow into an organic simplification decree ».
What autumn awaits us? Prime Minister Conte told the unions that the government will do everything possible, but that the maxi decree will not be the panacea for everything and not everyone who loses their job will find it. Do you fear social tensions? “The extraordinary sense of responsibility with which our citizens have faced these months shows not only that Italy has the strength to overcome such a critical moment but also that of facing challenges of a global scale with a great spirit of social cohesion. Now it is a question of not dispersing the results of the efforts of the Italians. We are aware of the difficulties that still lie ahead, but we are launching imposing measures that start from the firm will not to leave anyone behind ».
“Last appeal” of Renzi to Conte in the Senate. “Let’s face it: we are at a crossroads. He was good at reassuring the Italians, he was very good. The point, however, is that in phase 2 of politics it is not enough to play on fear and concern. There is a reconstruction to do which is devastating and will require vision and courageous choices. Give an extra eye to Istat’s data or we will not be by your side. If you choose the path of populism you will not have Italy alive by your side. Our country – continues Renzi – has had moments when politics abdicated its responsibilities, in 92-93 abdicated the judiciary, in the first decade of 2000 when it abdicated technicians, now we cannot abdicate virologists, we cannot ask them how to fight unemployment, touch to politics. There is a new deeper division between guaranteed and unsecured. We call you to have a broader look at the economic future. We will vote on the liquidity decree prepared by Gualtieri but the world v forward and in front of this now is the time to act: to prevent, not to chase. Be more cautious when speaking to Italians: you said 11 times ‘we allow’. A prime minister doesn’t allow it, because constitutional freedoms come before you. She doesn’t allow them, she recognizes them. I denied Salvini full powers: I didn’t do it to give it to others. Coronavirus is a terrible beast that has made 30 thousand deaths in the most cowardly way but we are not on the Coronavirus side when we say to reopen, we honor those dead. The people of Bergamo and Brescia who are no longer there, if they could speak, would tell us to reopen. “
“Which ultimatum? Conte replies – Renzi asked to do politics? It is what we are doing, so there is no ultimatum”. So does the majority still exist? He is asked. “Yes,” replies the Prime Minister.