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  • Writer's pictureDante and Lorna

Energy crisis: Italy risks ‘thousands’ of business closures, say industry groups

Italy needs some 50 billion euros to prevent thousands of companies failing and mass job losses due to soaring energy prices, industry groups said on Monday.

The head of Italian business association Confindustria appealed for an aid package to protect Italy’s economy from surging energy costs, saying: “Without industry, there is no Italy.”

“If we close thousands of companies, hundreds of thousands of jobs will be lost,” the lobby’s head Carlo Bonomi said in an interview with newspaper La Stampa.

“I am more concerned now than I was at the start of the pandemic,” he said, adding that he estimated some “40 to 50 billion euros by 2023” was needed.

Surging energy prices mean Italian companies are expected to pay 110 billion euros more in 2022 than they did before the pandemic, of which 55.6 billion is due in the period September to December, the association said in a report.

Outgoing Prime Minister Mario Draghi’s government has already spent 66 billion euros to help shield families and businesses from the energy crisis, financed by higher-than-expected tax revenues.

Bernabò Bocca, the head of Italian hoteliers’ association Federalberghi, said on Tuesday the effects of soaring energy prices are as devastating for the tourism industry as the Covid-19 pandemic was at its peak, and called for the EU to intervene.

“A major intervention on high energy prices is needed from Europe at once or many hotels and tourism businesses will close,” Bocca told the Ansa news agency.

They did the Recovery Fund for the pandemic and this is a new Covid for tourism,” he said, saying the industry needed “money, not tax credits”.

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