Conte announces €20.7bn of investments in 2019-2021

Conte announces €20.7bn of investments in 2019-2021

The populist government has earmarked 20.7 billion euros of investments for the period 2019-2021, premier Giuseppe Conte announced on Thursday in Rome.

"There are 20.7 billion euros of investments over the next three years in the budget that parliament will approve," Conte told reporters.

He was speaking after a 'steering committee' meeting attended by representatives of some of Italy's largest companies aimed at forging "an additional investment plan" to boost the country's chronically low growth.

"There was great willingness," Conte said of the companies that attended the steering committee meeting.

At the meeting, companies received an overview of the government's expansionary 2019 budget including "structural reforms" to overhaul Italy's creaking bureaucracy and "simplification" of taxation, he said.

Italy's finance minister Giovanni Tria on Wednesday announced a total of 37 billion in total additional spending in the 2019 budget.

The government has dug in over its plans to allow the deficit to triple next year to 2.4 percent to fund extra spending and tax cuts, resisting financial market and European Union pressure and brushing off criticism from parliament’s budgetary office that its growth forecasts for 2019-2021 were too optimistic.

Economic growth is seen at 1.5 percent next year, 1.6 percent in 2020, and 1.4 percent in 2021.