First indications for phase 2. Interview with Di Maio: "Emergency income alone is not enough; we must also think about reducing the tax burden. If we thought about the consensus tomorrow, we would reopen everything. Renzi wears the T-shirt of Italy fun club with us".
"The Emergency income cannot be the only instrument to give support to the Italians", explains Di Maio opening up a debate within the majority on what the prospects should be to avoid, if possible, a long and challenging economic crisis for the country. The recipe proposed by the Minister of Foreign Affairs is, to begin with, lowering taxes. "Faced with companies that had to interrupt the activities, VAT owners that are not working, and citizens facing difficulties, the State must consider intervening also by a substantial reduction of the tax burden. The former political leader of 5 Star Movement does not see a crisis on the horizon: "If we thought about consensus tomorrow, we would reopen everything". And he offers his hand to Renzi: "Wear the T-shirt of Italy fun club with us."
Minister, companies, and citizens complain that too little has been done to support those in difficulty. And that too many unacceptable delays characterise the provision of loans and subsidies.
I frankly tell you that the priority of this government is and must be to listen to citizens, businesses, families. We are working tirelessly for targeted interventions to support people. Just recently, 55 billion has been allocated to give oxygen to businesses and workers. But of course, we cannot stop. There is an economic crisis to be tackled with real instruments. It is vital to introduce them as soon as possible. Still, they cannot be the only ones to support the Italians.
Can you consider the adoption of other measures?
I think that in an extraordinary situation it is appropriate to intervene with exceptional instruments. It is natural that faced with companies that had to interrupt the activities, VAT owners that are not working, and citizens facing difficulties, the State must consider intervening also by a substantial reduction of the tax burden. We must aim at a clear objective: less taxes and less bureaucracy. We need to be cautious and prudent in the restart. Still, at the same time, we need to be aware that the country must restart and to do so we need to provide the companies with the conditions to operate. A truce between citizens and the State would be needed. We should stop the approval of new laws, except for those related to the emergency, and cancel at least 1000 unnecessary laws for companies, including many rules of the procurement code. We must also work on conscious tax collection. These are all issues on which the ministers concerned have already had their say, and I support them.
Italia Viva party condemns your little courage in the reopening phase. Don't you think that going ahead like this Italy risks going towards an economic disaster difficult to recover from?
I do not want to comment on the other political forces. Here we are all in the same condition. The facts will speak for themselves. If we think about the electoral consensus, then we can reopen everything tomorrow. We want to protect the lives of our citizens; therefore, the way forward is prudence. We are listening to the scientific community telling us to be careful about new infections because of the reopening. Therefore, the smartest thing to do is to reopen gradually and test the evolution of the virus. On this, however, I want to be clear. If the data are reassuring, nothing will prevent us from thinking about speeding up with reopening. You see, every day I dwell a lot on the civil protection bulletin, the latest data are encouraging, but the death toll is always high. The number of deaths decreases, but every day there are still hundreds of victims. It is painful. We must work to give answers to the Italians; the polemics are sterile and not useful.
Tomorrow begins Phase 2. There is still a great confusion about the "relatives", there has been criticism about Conte's communication and the lack of courage in the choices.
The Presidency of the Council of Ministers has made further clarity. A lockdown manual does not exist, and we are doing all this for the first time. We are working 24 hours a day, dealing with the evolution of the facts. We are adapting our political action to this emergency. It is a significant effort. I repeat again that controversies should be put aside to focus on solutions.
Don't you worry about a State that establishes, not by norm, but using FAQs, who is to be considered "stable affection" and why can we visit sixth cousins and not friends of a lifetime? Are you worried about a State that prescribes social distancing and masks in the living rooms of Italian families?
I am the first one to keep distance with my staff members in the office. And I know I do it to protect their health, not just because the law requires it. Let me tell you that even I have not seen my family for months, so I understand the suffering of Italians, but these rules serve to save people's lives. The FAQs are useful to simplify the interpretation of the rule.
Conte's use of DPCM (Decree of the President of the Council of Ministers) is under the magnifying glass. The President of the Constitutional Court Cartabia has also raised the alarm. Should the government start taking a different path, given that from the absolute emergency, it starts to plan the criteria for the restart?
We need speed; we need immediate rules because, as I said, we are facing a health and economic emergency that has turned our lives upside down. I invite you to reflect on something that is often overlooked. It is not the DPCs that have taken away our freedoms or our rights. It was this virus that took over our spaces, our freedoms, our rights. And we are stepping in to reconquer our normality.
Matteo Renzi says that either you do politics or if you continue with populism Italy Viva will leave the government. Do you see a crisis on the horizon?
I am sorry to say that the theme of the government crisis is now an all-Italian praxis if the government has been asking us every day for 70 years. Every single component of this government is not stopping for a moment, and so is Parliament. We are all playing the same game. Every single political force, majority, and opposition should wear the T-shirt of Italy fun club, we should all think that right now the only thing that matters is to defeat this virus and restart.
You have been strongly criticised for the aid received from China and Russia. Do we expect more from these countries? More generally, what is the situation regarding the supplies of materials from abroad?
Have I been criticized because health aids arrived and helped to saved lives? Well, then, I hope to be criticised every single day (laughs, ndr). Let me briefly explain. We have activated our diplomatic corps and appealed to all countries. Many governments have responded and sent us medical aid. We have found many friends because Italy is, mostly, a friendly country. There are no alliances or collocations that can change according to the aid. We are firmly in NATO and the EU. But I thank China, like many other countries, for its friendship and closeness. Without foreign assistance, we would never have made it. We talk to our partners, and we are confident in our allies. Many people have written to me to thank the Government, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the activity carried out and for the help received. For me it is essential to think of the smile of a father who, thanks to a mask or a lung ventilator that came from abroad, saw his son defeating the coronavirus or to the many doctors, nurses and social workers who were able to work safely using these protections.
What changes from tomorrow about travel to and from abroad? Are there still a few issues on repatriations that need to be solved?
So far over 70 thousand compatriots who were abroad during this emergency have returned to Italy. And those who have not returned have been supported by our embassies and consulates around the world. With our crisis unit we are monitoring every area of the world, we continue to activate special flights and follow with the utmost attention the case of Italians stranded on cruise ships.