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At a glance: What does Italy’s new energy aid package mean for you?

Italy’s government has confirmed further financial aid to help households and businesses cope with soaring energy bills. Here’s a breakdown of the main measures.

Boiler knob
Italy’s government has confirmed a new round of financial aid measures to help households and businesses cope with soaring energy bills. Photo by Ina FASSBENDER / AFP

Much like the rest of Europe, Italy has been hit by record energy prices over the past few months and gas and electricity tariffs are only expected to rise further in the coming months. 

On Thursday, the government announced a new round of financial aid to support struggling families and businesses.

READ ALSO: How Italy has avoided a huge hike in gas prices – for now

The latest aid package, worth 9.1 billion euros, is the fourth aid bill (decreto aiuti) issued since the start of the energy crisis. It comes after Mario Draghi’s cabinet brought in three such bills which amounted to a total of 61.2 billion euros in state aid. 

Here are the most relevant measures included in the new package.

Subsidies for low-income families

Italian households with an annual income – this is calculated as ISEE (Equivalent Financial Position Indicator) – of up to 12,000 euros or up to 20,000 euros in the case of families with four or more members will continue to benefit from discounts on their gas and electricity bills (‘bonus gas e luce’) until the end of the year.

READ ALSO: Italy’s energy giant reports huge profit as more price hikes expected

The size of the discounts, which are applied directly to bills, varies based on the geographic location, type of energy contract and family size of the claimant.

Find further information on Italian energy regulator Arera’s website.

Tax credit for businesses

Businesses across the country will remain eligible to receive tax credit (credito d’imposta) equal to as much as 40 percent of their energy-related expenses. 

First introduced under Draghi’s government, the above measure was meant to expire on November 30th but has now been extended to the end of the year.

The criteria regulating who can claim the bonus and how much they can claim are available here on the Italian tax agency’s website. Details on how to claim the bonus can be found here.


Families will be able to claim discounts on gas and electricity bills until the end of the year. Photo by Jean-Christophe VERHAEGEN / AFP

Paying bills in instalments 

Under the new decreto, businesses across the country will be able to pay gas and electricity bills received between October 1st, 2022 and March 31st, 2023 in instalments, with a maximum of 36 monthly instalments allowed.

The option to pay via instalments will be revoked if a business fails to pay two consecutive instalments.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: How much are energy prices rising in Italy this autumn? 

Fuel duties

Despite a recent decrease in fuel prices across the country, the existing discounts on fuel duties – 30.5 cents on every litre of petrol or diesel and around 10.4 cents for methane – will remain in place until December 31st.

So far, around 8 billion euros have been allocated to cutting fuel prices in Italy. 

Cost of living bonus scrapped

The government has ultimately scrapped the idea of offering another one-time 150-euro bonus for all residents with an ISEE of up to €20,000 a year – the first round of such bonuses had been offered by Draghi’s cabinet as part of the third decreto aiuti back in October.

Cash payment limit increased

As promised, Meloni’s government has raised the legal limit for cash transactions.

While ministers originally proposed bringing the cash payment ceiling up from the current 2,000 euros to 10,000 euros, the new aid package sets the threshold at 5,000 euros.

READ ALSO: Italian government seeks to raise cash payment limit ‘to help the poor’

The measure has attracted criticism as critics believe it will encourage widespread tax evasion and money laundering – two problems that have long dogged the Italian economy.

Superbonus 110

The discount on construction works afforded by Italy’s much-discussed building bonus will go from 110 percent to 90 percent in 2023.

Builder taking a break

The discount on home construction works afforded by Italy’s building superbonus will go from 110 percent to 90 percent in 2023. Photo by Valentine CHAPUIS / AFP

However, while the bonus was originally meant to lapse for one-household properties (‘immobili unifamiliari’) at the end of 2022, the owners of such properties will still be able to claim the discount in 2023 as long as the property in question is their first home and their ISEE doesn’t exceed 15,000 euros a year (the threshold is expected to change depending on the size of the claimant’s family).

Extraction of natural gas 

The latest aid package will allow the government to grant licences for the construction of new drilling stations between nine and 12 nautical miles off the Italian coast

The measure is part of a wider attempt to diversify the country’s energy portfolio and wean Italy off Russian gas supplies altogether.

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Italy withdraws from China’s Belt and Road investment deal

Italy has withdrawn from China's vast Belt and Road infrastructure plan, more than four years after becoming the only G7 nation to sign up, a government source said on Wednesday.

Italy withdraws from China's Belt and Road investment deal

The long-expected decision was communicated to Beijing three days ago, according to Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, which first broke the news.

Neither side has published an official communication, but an Italian government source confirmed to AFP that Rome had pulled out.

The source gave no details beyond saying it was done in such a way as to “keep channels of political dialogue open”.

Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni has long been opposed to Italy’s participation in an initiative viewed by many as an attempt by Beijing to buy political influence – and whose benefits to Rome were limited.

The deal was due to automatically renew in March 2024 unless Italy opted out by the end of this year.

READ ALSO: Italy says China trade deal not meeting expectations

But Meloni and her hard-right government were also wary of provoking Beijing and risking retaliation against Italian companies.

She told reporters at the G20 summit in Delhi in September that should Rome leave the project, it “would not compromise relations with China”.

Two trillion dollars

Beijing says upwards of 150 countries stretching from Uruguay to Sri Lanka have signed up to the initiative, a central pillar of President Xi Jinping’s bid to expand China’s clout overseas.

The Chinese governent says it has signed over two trillion dollars’ worth of contracts around the world, from high-speed rail tracks crisscrossing South East Asia and massive transport, energy and infrastructure works through Central Asia.

Proponents hail it for bringing resources and economic growth to the Global South – but it has also been slammed for saddling poor countries with enormous debt.

It has also given Chinese infrastructure firms a foothold in many emerging economies.

There are concerns, particularly among Western nations, that China is seeking to rebuild the global world order to its advantage, while opposition voices in BRI countries have also decried what they see as increasing Chinese influence in local politics.

Meanwhile, Washington has warned that China could use the initiative as a pretext to build up military bases around the world in the name of protecting BRI investments.

Limited impact

Italy, a member of the European Union, the G7 grouping of advanced economies and NATO, signed up in 2019 under the government of then prime minister Giuseppe Conte.

Before taking office in October 2022, Meloni said that was a “mistake”.

The non-binding memorandum of understanding struck with China contained  broad undertakings for cooperation in logistics, infrastructure, financial and environmental sectors. But details were scarce and the lack of transparency fuelled distrust among Italy’s allies.

In addition, Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani said in September that membership “has not produced the results we were hoping for”.

Experts noted that other big European economies, such as Germany and France, did not join the BRI, but have nonetheless secured important trade and investment deals.