Italy can only overcome the COVID-19 pandemic it if it seizes an "historic" opportunity to solve its "structural" problems offered by the European Union's multi-billion euro recovery fund, foreign minister Luigi Di Maio said on Thursday.
"We will be able to say we have truly put the pandemic behind us not only when the health emergency is over but when we have grasped the opportunities that this historic albeit dramatic moment has offered us to fix our vulnerabilities, structural weaknesses and development models that are no longer sustainable," Di Maio said.
Di Maio made the remarks in an address at an event for Italian cities held in Rome.
Italy will be one of the main beneficiaries of the EU's Coronavirus recovery fund -borrowed by the bloc on international markets and made up of grants and low-interest loans - and is set to receive up to 209 billion euros by 2023.
"Italy stands to be among the main beneficiaries and will this objective in mind we are forging a national plan for economic revival and resilience," Di Maio said.
"This will allow us to pursue a new growth paradigm that is more sustainable, inclusive and enduring," he added.
Di Maio renewed earlier appeals for local and regional authorities to be involved in the various projects in which the recovery funds will be invested.
"The UN 2030 agenda calls on nations to find innovative solutions to make cities and human settlements more inclusive, safer, enduring and sustainable - that is to say more centred on citizens," he added.
Italy's Group of Twenty presidency starting in December will be guided by three principles - care for individuals, their prosperity and for the planet - Di Maio underlined.