Rome, Jul 1 (IANS): Italy's Cabinet of Ministers has approved a measure providing billions of euros in tax cuts and financing for natural gas as the government worked to reduce the economic impacts of surging fuel prices.
Prime Minister Mario Draghi announced the plan late Thursday as he departed Spain after attending the NATO summit, reports Xinhua news agency.
Draghi attended the first two days of the summit in Madrid, and was replaced on the final day by Italian Defence Minister Lorenzo Guerini.
In his remarks, the Prime Minister did not specify the total value for the aid package, but said the measure would include financing for 4 billion euros ($4.2 billion) in loans to energy market operator GSE to facilitate the refilling of gas storage capacity before demand increases next winter.
He said that gas storage was currently around 50-60 per cent of capacity and that his government was "confident we'll reach our target" of 90 per cent of capacity by November.
Italian media reported that the total package, including the financing for GSE, could be worth as much as 8 billion euros, including cash to support long-term contracts for gas imports and a reduction in taxes on energy bills.