ROME — Italy’s government is seeking to turn the coronavirus emergency into an opportunity to pass “the mother of all reforms” to simplify the country’s notoriously bulky bureaucracy, invest in education and research and make Italy more attractive to foreign investment.
Premier Giuseppe Conte told parliament’s lower chamber on Thursday that an upcoming “simplification” decree aims to provide a “shock” to the economy, which was heading toward recession even before the pandemic turned Italy into the onetime European epicenter. He said it aims to make Italy more competitive and transparent, while maintaining checks to prevent organized crime from infiltrating public and private contracts.
He said: “If we don’t succeed in simplifying now, in this state of absolute emergency, I frankly doubt we’ll be able to do it in the future.”
Conte also updated lawmakers on the status of Italy’s reopening, which began May 4 and accelerated this week. He said Italy now leads the world in per capita virus testing, and that antibody tests would begin May 25 on a sample 150,000 people — three weeks later than planned.
He said Italy’s contact-tracing app would begin tests “in the coming days” but he made no mention of whether Italy had hired teams of contact-tracers to actually conduct interviews and get in touch with people who had been in contact with COVID-19 patients, as other European countries have done.