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ECONOMY

Fiat promises no job cuts in return for state aid: report

Fiat Chrysler has agreed to the conditions laid down for a state-backed €6.3 billion euro loan, including a promise not to relocate or cut jobs, Italy's Sole 24 Ore daily said Sunday.

Fiat promises no job cuts in return for state aid: report
Robots manufactured by Comau are pictured on the assembly line of the Fiat 500 BEV Battery Electric Vehicle. Photo: AFP

The state auditor has approved the guarantee, but it still needs to be signed off on by the economy ministry, the paper said.

The request for state support on such a large loan has proved controversial, particularly with the company's corporate headquarters in Amsterdam.

FCA — which directly employs close to 55,000 people in Italy — has said the loan is essential to help the group's Italy operations and the whole industry to weather the crisis triggered by the coronavirus pandemic.

The company will commit to investing 5.2 billion euro in Italy on new and existing projects, and up to 1.2 billion euro on its 1,400 or so foreign suppliers, said Sole 24 Ore, Italy's financial newspaper.

 

FCA will also pledge not to cut any jobs before 2023.

The loan will be funded by Italy's largest commercial bank Intesa San Paolo and 80 percent guaranteed by export credit agency SACE, the daily said.

The government has said FCA would face sanctions if it failed to stick to the conditions laid down for loan. Sole 24 Ore said the fine for breaking the agreement could be in the region of 500 million euros.

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ECONOMY

Sweden’s new right-wing govt slashes development aid

Sweden, one of the world's biggest international donors, is planning drastic aid cuts in the coming years, the country's new right-wing government said in its budget bill presented on Tuesday.

Sweden's new right-wing govt slashes development aid

Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson’s government said it planned to reduce the country’s international aid by 7.3 billion kronor ($673 million) in 2023, and by another 2.2 billion kronor in 2024.

That is around a 15-percent reduction from what had been planned by the previous left-wing government and means Sweden will abandon its foreign aid target of 1 percent of gross national income.

International aid for refugees will be capped at a maximum of eight percent of its aid, and will also be reduced.

According to the specialised site Donor Tracker, Sweden was the world’s eighth-biggest international aid donor in terms of absolute value last year, and the third-biggest in proportion to the size of its economy, donating 0.92 percent of its gross national income, behind Luxembourg and Norway.

The new government, which is backed for the first time by the anti-immigration Sweden Democrats, had announced in its government programme last month that it would be cutting foreign aid.

Since 1975, Stockholm has gone further than the UN’s recommendation of donating at least 0.7 percent of its wealth to development aid.

Despite its growth forecast being revised downwards — the economy is expected to shrink by 0.4 percent next year and grow by 2 percent in 2024 — the 2023 budget forecasts a surplus of 0.7 percent of gross domestic product.

It calls for an additional 40 billion kronor in spending, with rising envelopes for crime fighting and the building of new nuclear reactors, as well as a reduction in taxes on petrol and an increase in the defence budget.

The new government is a minority coalition made up of Kristersson’s conservative Moderates, the Christian Democrats and the Liberal party, backed in parliament by their key ally the Sweden Democrats to give them a majority.

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