Italy to start production shutdown as deeper recession looms
INTERNATIONAL - Italy is being dragged deeper into a recession after the coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak that’s crippling its northern regions forced the government to ban movement inside the country and shutter almost all industrial production.
The impact of virus on the economy will be strong even as measures by the European Central Bank and European governments help limit the intensity and length of the slump, Bank of Italy chief Ignazio Visco and Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said in separate interviews in La Stampa newspaper.
Conte called for a new financial architecture centered on joint European Union debt issuances, or at least a guarantee fund to safeguard the European economy. European finance ministers are due to discuss their response to the crisis later Monday amid comments from multiple officials that dramatic steps are needed.
“The European Central Bank has fielded a protective shield, now it’s up to the European governments to go into battle and defend the economy,” Conte told La Stampa. “We’ll use all the tools which can help us start to run again.”
Measures under consideration include support for businesses, families and the self-employed, including guarantees and funding for companies, exploiting new EU rules on state aid and unspent funds from the bloc, Conte added. The government is also working on boosting spending on public investments.