13 May, 2020
10 Min Read
Italy, India and a common thread in partnership
By, Vincenzo de Luca is the Ambassador of Italy to India
May 4 is a date that unites Italy and India in the current COVID-19 scenario. It is the day when both countries courageously decided to strike a fine balance between the need to restore industrial activities and supply chains and the duty to continue protecting their citizens from the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Endeavour in a phase
The present stage that both countries entered that Monday reflects the same endeavour:
1. First, we needed to put our economies and societies on hold to contain the virus;
2. Second while still working to strengthen our preparedness and our response to this global challenge, we need to be able to look forward and give our citizens and our businesses a positive outlook in the immediate future.
That Monday, the new measures adopted by the Italian government allowed 4.5 million people to go back to work: the heart of our economic system started pulsating again. Nearly 50 economic and industrial activities were allowed on a national scale.
In parallel, the Italy government adopted new measures develop digital processes and streamlined procedures so as to support the prompt resumption of activities by the private sector.
It is something that we are also doing here in India, by developing the “Digital Embassy” project that will allow us to create many tools and processes to virtually interact and support our nationals, our businesses and our Indian counterparts.
Financial backing- Steps taken by Italy to promote its business sector
The resumption of industrial activities happens in a framework where financial support to businesses and citizens has already been launched both at the national and the European Union (EU) level.
In terms of national financial resources, the Italian government has already provided guarantees up to €500 billion to make sure that Italian businesses can have access to the necessary liquidity.
It has also adopted measures to support families and small and medium enterprises through grants, loans, debt rescheduling and other form of financial support.
Furthermore, the Italian government was the first one to sign a protocol with trade unions for health safety at the workplace.
The lockdown adopted by the Italian government is paying out
In case of a resurgence of the contagion, we stand ready to introduce restrictive measures again to counter it effectively.
Points of convergence
Italy and India will have an extraordinary chance to closely cooperate in the next months, since they will be holding the consecutive Presidencies (Italy in 2021 and India in 2022) of the G20, one of the world’s main fora for global governance.
This will prove a unique opportunity to strengthen our partnership based on shared values, on our thriving creating industries, scientific knowledge and technological prowess; from the development of a rules-based international system to the promotion of just trade, inclusive growth and the realisation of the 2030 Agenda.
In this endeavour we will support an effective multilateral system, which would be the best political accelerator to win our battle against the novel coronavirus and to promote a sustainable, equitable and durable recovery.
In this process we will not lose sight of the fight against climate change, since Italy will co-host the 26th session of the Conference of the Parties, COP26, in 2021, together with the United Kingdom, and India is one of the world’s major responsible stakeholders.
In a nutshell, at both bilateral and multilateral levels, our dialogue will be based on the main tenets of innovation and sustainability.
Innovation because this crisis has transformed the urge to develop new ideas, methods, processes and devices into the “new normal”; sustainability because, paraphrasing a popular saying: “we did not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrowed it from our children”.
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