Edited by Francesca Tironi, Giulia Spalazzi and Silvia Basile
During session No. 35 of May 23rd, 2023, the Italian Council of Ministers approved, among others, urgent measures to address the emergency caused by the flooding events that occurred as of May 1st, 2023, as well as in the energy sector, which will be included in a Decree Law whose final text is currently being finalized and will soon be published. It should be specified that the following is the result of an analysis of the Council of Ministers’ press release and the draft of the Decree that has been circulated, so in order to have certainty about the announced changes, it will be necessary to wait for the publication of the new measures in the Italian Official Gazette.
More than 2 billion Euro in resources were allocated through the Decree Law under examination in order to ensure relief and assistance to the people and businesses affected by the flooding and to rapidly progress beyond the emergency phase.
Below are the main innovations of interest contained in the draft of the aforementioned Decree Law:
- Suspension of deadlines related to tax and social security obligations and payments. The suspension, from May 1st to August 31st, 2023, of the deadlines pertaining to tax and social security obligations and payments, including those arising from tax collection notices, due on or after May 1st has been announced. The suspension applies to obligations towards public administrations expected to be fulfilled by employers, professionals, consultants and tax assistance centers based or operating in the territories affected by the flood events, including on behalf of companies and clients not operating in those territories.
- Postponement of the deadline for completing works related to the 110% bonus. The postponement to December 31st, 2023, of the deadline for the completion of interventions carried out on real estate units located in the affected territories for the purposes of the 110% bonus has been announced.
- Postponement of payment of installments for loans granted by Cassa Depositi e Prestiti. Within the affected municipalities and provinces, the deferment of payment of installments due in fiscal year 2023 of loans granted by Cassa Depositi e Prestiti was announced.
- Suspension of utility bills. As previously approved by the Regulatory Authority for Energy, Networks and Environment (so-called “ARERA”), the suspension of utility payments was announced.
- Postponement of court hearings and suspension of procedural terms. A postponement, until July 31st, 2023, of hearings in civil and criminal proceedings, as well as a suspension of procedural terms and civil and criminal judgments in cases where either the party or the party’s attorney is residing in the area affected by the flood event was decided. Terms in administrative, accounting, military and tax judgments were also suspended from May 2nd to August 31st, 2023.
- Public competition exams’ recovery. The possibility of access to special public competition catch-up tests for residents in flooded areas was announced.
- Concessions for public employees who cannot work even under a smart working arrangement. It was announced that the period of absence from duty will be equated with service actually rendered for public administration employees who cannot render their work even through smart working arrangements.
- Suspension of deadlines for supplying data required by the national statistical program. Suspension of deadlines for municipalities to provide data required for surveys under the national statistical program has been decided.
- Extraordinary fund to support educational continuity. The “Extraordinary fund to support educational continuity” has been founded, with an endowment of 20 million Euro, for the restoration of regular educational activities in educational institutions in the territories affected by the flood event. In addition, the possibility is provided for the Ministry of Education and Merit to introduce, through ordinances, specific measures in relation to the evaluation and performance of state examinations concluding the first and second cycles of education.
- Immediate entry into force of the provisions of the new Tenders Code. It has been decided the immediate entry into force of Article no. 140 of the new Tenders Code, relating to “procedures in case of emergency and civil protection”, which provides for the possibility of “ordering the immediate execution of works within the limit of 500,000 Euro or of what is essential to remove the state of prejudice to public and private safety”.
- Access to the Emergency Wages Integration Fund. The possibility was provided for employees of companies located in the affected territories to access the Cassa integrazione emergenziale with a single, newly created instrument for all productive sectors, including the agricultural one, up to a maximum of 90 days and up to an overall maximum for this contingency of 580 million Euro.
- One-off allowance for coordinated and continuous collaborators, agency and commercial representation relationship holders and self-employed professionals. 298 million Euro has been allocated for the introduction of a one-off allowance of up to 3,000 Euro for coordinated and continuous collaborators, agency and commercial representation relationship holders and self-employed professionals who had to suspend their activities due to the flood events.
- Strengthened intervention of the Central Guarantee Fund. Enhanced intervention of the Central Guarantee Fund in favour of companies was announced, covering 110 million Euro and increasing the guarantees’ coverage even up to 100%, in order to facilitate the fastest possible recovery of economic activities in the area.
- Non-repayable financial aid for damages suffered by exporting businesses. It was announced that non-repayable financial aids, through Simest S.p.a. and up to 300 million Euro, will be granted for damages suffered by exporting enterprises in the concerned area.
- Suspension of payments to the Chamber of Commerce. A suspension of payments of the annual fee due to the Chambers of Commerce, accounting and corporate obligations, and the payment of instalments on mortgages or loans of all kinds has been announced.
- Funds for damaged agricultural businesses. It has been provided for the allocation of 100 million Euro from the “National Solidarity Fund – Compensatory Interventions” to damaged agricultural businesses, with the extension of the possibility to access to compensatory measures to business production and structures that can be insured but at the time of the event were not covered by insurance policies. The support is granted as a supplement to compensations from the “Agricat Fund”. The possibility is provided for the competent region to request an advance to disburse the first resources, necessary to ensure the continuity of production. Provisions are also made for the distribution among regions and autonomous provinces of the sums for the compensation of damages suffered by agricultural enterprises affected by the drought during 2022.
- Refinancing of the National Emergency Fund. A refinancing of 200 million Euro of the National Emergency Fund for the year 2023 was announced.
In order to provide financial coverage for the announced provisions, it was announced that the Agency of Customs and Monopolies will be authorized, until December 31, 2023, to carry out extraordinary Lotto and Superenalotto lottery draws, as well as the sale of movable assets subject to administrative seizure, even in derogation of the provisions on the number of auctions, providing for the transfer to the state budget of the resulting revenues. In addition, the introduction of a surcharge of 1.00 Euro for access to state museums for the period between June 15 and September 15, 2023, was announced, with the provision to allocate the increased revenues to interventions for the protection and reconstruction of cultural heritage and the support of cultural and entertainment workers in the affected territories.
Finally, the simplification of the regulations on the construction of a new national regasification capacity was announced, with the qualification as work of public utility, non-deferrable and urgent, of those aimed at this through floating storage and regasification units.
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