Letter from Italy

By Maurizio Maione

Economic recovery and the vaccine campaign are dominating the political agenda and have been set following the appointment of a new government. Mr Draghi’s cabinet is redrafting the recovery fund strategy after the significant increase in the opposition has made almost all previous discussions ineffective and negotiations impossible. While the 6 pillars of: sustainability, digital transformation, school and research, health, social inclusion and infrastructure remain unchanged, there is still some uncertainty about the real priorities and the political compromises that are required to achieve targets.

The other hot dossier is, beyond doubt, how to regain speed and recover efficiency in the vaccine campaign. In a month, in fact, Italy fell from being at the forefront of vaccination programs to recording one of the lowest rates. Certainly, the delay on the Astra Zeneca vaccination had a part to play in this dramatic change. Logistics and a fairly complicated health system which is jointly governed by the State and 21 different regional authorities, played a role too.

A new Commissioner appointed for the Covid emergency was one of the first decisions made by the new cabinet. The former Commander of Army logistics is now the man whose job it is to regain momentum. Meanwhile, half of the country and a higher proportion of the population were locked in again at Easter.

The sentiment is, inarguably, a mixed one. Stress and preoccupation afflict those areas which suffer worst amidst the crisis: with retail, travel and tourism at the forefront. Economic trends at large look more optimistic, the stock exchange is recording positive sessions day in and day out and the sentiment of companies is on the positive side. It is from an individual perspective which we find most challenging to be positive.