Italy to Spend $3 Billion to Stem Energy-Price Hike Next Year
Italy’s Finance Ministry said Friday that it plans to spend about 2.8 billion euros ($3.2 billion) from the 2022 budget to help shield consumers from surging energy prices.
The support will target the first quarter of the year, and will include 800 million euros of savings from a tax overhaul and unspent cash from previous months, according to people familiar with the matter who declined to be named because the fiscal discussions are ongoing.
A Finance Ministry official confirmed the total amount of the support without commenting further.
Prime Minister Mario Draghi’s government had already set aside about 2 billion euros of the financing in its draft 2022 budget. The announcement of further funding comes as a vote in parliament on the fiscal plan nears and political pressure mounts to do more to help struggling families.
Italy has also asked the European Union to study medium-term solutions to address soaring power bills across the continent heading into the winter. In a sign of the potential consequences if action isn’t sufficient, a price spike in the U.K. forced some industrial companies to cut production and seek state aid.
Italy allocated 1.2 billion euros in June and more than 3 billion euros in September to offset higher power prices.
An easy fix isn’t in sight: Russian supplies are limited and countries including Qatar say they’re producing what they can.
Italian Economic Development Minister Giancarlo Giorgetti warned Thursday of the risk of European blackouts as he reaffirmed the government’s commitment to ease the impact of elevated energy costs, particularly for poorer households.
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