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Italy forks out fresh EUR6B in energy aid

ROME (AFP) – Italy said on Friday it was forking out nearly EUR6 billion in fresh aid to help households and firms buffetted by soaring energy bills.

The Cabinet-approved package comes of top of some EUR10 billion already budgetted since last summer to shelter customers and businesses.

“We are putting nearly eight billion euros on the table, including six billion in energy aid,” Prime Minister Mario Draghi told a news conference.

The decree signed on Friday introduces measures to simplify and speed up the construction of renewable power plants, he said.

It includes EUR1 billion in support for the Italian automotive industry and less polluting vehicles, which Draghi said were “at the heart of the ecological transition”.

And will also see the government “intervene in a structural manner to increase Italian gas production”.

Italy, which has not produced nuclear energy for over three decades, is extremely dependent on imports and consumes a lot of gas.

Gas accounts for between 35-40 per cent of its primary energy consumption, compared with around 15 per cent in France, according to official statistics for both countries.

Natural gas prices have reached historic highs in recent months, sending electricity costs spiralling across Europe and pouring cold water on the economic post-pandemic recovery.

Young women walk across Piazza del Duomo and the cathedral in downtown Milan. PHOTO: AFP

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