May 4 is the date that unites Italy and India at this time COVID-19 scenario. This is a day when the two countries boldly decide to strike a good balance between the need to restore industrial activities and the supply chain and the obligation to continue to protect their citizens from the spread of new coronaviruses.
What is known in India as Lockdown 3.0 has been defined as “Phase 2” in Italy. Regardless of how we call it, the stage that the two countries entered on Monday reflects the same effort: first, we need to hold our economy and society to restrain viruses; now while continuing to work to strengthen our preparedness and our response to this global challenge, we must be able to look forward and give a positive outlook to our citizens and businesses in the near future.
Like India, Italy is also a country whose economy has a strong manufacturing base. On Monday, new steps adopted by the Italian government allowed 4.5 million people to return to work: the heart of our economic system began to beat again. Nearly 50 economic and industrial activities are permitted on a national scale.
In parallel, the government adopted new measures to ensure that nearly three million people employed in the public sector will be able to develop digital processes and streamline procedures to support the resumption of activities by the private sector. This is something we also do here in India, by developing the “Digital Embassy” project which will enable us to create many tools and processes to interact and support our Indian citizens, businesses and partners.
The ultimate goal in Italy is to enable our entire workforce (around 24 million people) to restart their activities. This need not sacrifice security: relevant Italian institutions have established adequate directives for workplaces and public places. This is based on the steps that will resonate with the reader: wearing a face covering; thermal scanning; Frequent sanitation; adequate distance.
Regarding the latter, I avoid the adjective “social” because I believe that it will be more appropriate to talk about physical distance: sociality will be very lively, only slightly different from before.
The resumption of industrial activity takes place within a framework where financial support for businesses and citizens has been launched at both the national and European Union (EU) level. In terms of national financial resources, the Italian government has provided guarantees of up to € 500 billion to ensure that Italian businesses can have access to the required liquidity. It has also adopted measures to support families and small and medium businesses through grants, loans, debt scheduling and other forms of financial support. In addition, the Italian government was the first to sign a protocol with trade unions for occupational health safety. The EU is also doing its part and has reached an agreement on three important safety nets for workers, business and government, with a total package of € 540 billion. The establishment of a recovery fund has also been agreed.
The lockdown adopted by the Italian government pays. The figures related to COVID-19 in Italy still deserve our best attention and we will not lower our guard until this threat to public health is removed. And, of course, in the case of a revival of transmission, we are ready to introduce more restrictive measures to deal effectively with it.
Maybe this is the beginning to take lessons from this crisis, but it is possible to say that the future that we will form in the post-COVID-19 scenario will be closely related to our ability to bring global public goods and shared goods. at the center of the narrative and political agenda. In this mindset, Italy and India will have an extraordinary opportunity to work closely together in the coming months, because they will hold successive Presidencies (Italy in 2021 and India in 2022) from the G20, one of the world’s major forums for governance global management. This will prove a unique opportunity to shape international discourse around the priorities held by the two countries: from utilizing the completeness of our economy to strengthening our partnerships based on shared values, in our developing creation industries, scientific knowledge and technological prowess; from developing an international system based on regulations to promoting fair trade, inclusive growth and the realization of the 2030 Agenda. In this effort we will support an effective multilateral system, which will be the best political accelerator to win our battle against the new corona virus and to promote sustainable recovery , fair and durable. In this process we will not lose sight of the fight against climate change, because Italy will co-host the 26th session of the Conference of the Parties, COP26, in 2021, together with Britain, and India is one of the main countries in the world. responsible stakeholders.
In short, at bilateral and multilateral levels, our dialogue will be based on the main principles of innovation and sustainability. Innovations due to this crisis have changed the desire to develop new ideas, methods, processes and devices into “new normal”; sustainability because, to quote the popular saying: “we did not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrowed it from our children “.
Vincenzo de Luca is the Italian Ambassador to India