Politics, Europe

Italy’s far-right gov't approves 1st package of measures

Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni unveils new package, marking clear break from previous Draghi government

Giada Zampano  | 01.11.2022 - Update : 02.11.2022
Italy’s far-right gov't approves 1st package of measures


Italy’s new far-right government led by Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni approved its first package of measures Monday, including norms that relax some anti-COVID restrictions as well as a delay in planned justice reform in a sign of discontinuity with the previous Cabinet.

The new rules, approved after a two-hour-long Cabinet meeting, allow the re-integration of doctors and nurses who are currently suspended because they refused to undergo compulsory vaccination against COVID-19 as imposed by the Draghi government earlier this year.

The measures, unveiled by Meloni and the relevant ministers, come six months after the end of the COVID state of emergency in the country.

The new Health Minister, Orazio Schillaci, explained that they were a response to “the worrying shortage of medical and health personnel” and followed a scientific assessment of the pandemic’s developments.

At a news conference following the Cabinet meeting, Meloni said she refused to adopt an “ideological approach” to COVID measures, which she said wrongly became “an electoral campaign issue.”

She also clarified that the obligation to wear a mask will be prolonged for both health workers and visitors to hospitals and nursing homes after being substantially lifted in most closed environments over the past few months.

The newly-installed rightist government also decided to delay implementing some of the justice reforms approved under the government of former Prime Minister Mario Draghi needed to obtain the next tranche of the European Union’s recovery funds.

Meloni, however, stressed that her government remains committed to the reforms and deadlines requested by the EU, as its next moves on the economic front are closely watched by European partners and international investors.

The Italian premier added that the delay in justice reforms was necessary to avoid “a paralysis of the whole judiciary system,” which needed more time to adapt to the changes.

She instead hailed a newly-introduced norm – which she dubbed “symbolic”— which allows people jailed for mafia-related crimes to be granted access to alternative detention, only when they agree to cooperate with investigators.

Following its tough approach of “security, law and order,” the Meloni government also approved a decree that introduces new prison terms ranging from three to six years for the organizers of rave parties and other gatherings that represent a danger to “public order or public health.”

Meloni also reassured Italians that her government is racing against time to draft the 2023 budget law, saying the new budgetary targets will be swiftly discussed at the next Cabinet meeting, likely on Nov. 4.

The government has to approve the budget law, including new and much-awaited economic measures able to help Italian families and businesses cope with soaring energy bills and spiking inflation amid a looming recession.

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