Italy’s Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte on Sunday defended the scope of his nine-day economic summit, saying it paved the way for an economic “Recovery Plan” that will be finalized in September. 

In a news conference at Rome’s Villa Pamphili – where the consultations with national and international policymakers took place — Conte also reiterated his call for a meeting with the opposition parties, which deserted the summit dubbing it a “show-off.”

The premier cited “digitalization, greener energy and a more inclusive society” among the pillars of the master plan that the government will unveil in September and that will aim at “reinventing the country.”

But he stopped short of providing details on concrete measures that may be needed urgently to help workers and businesses damaged by the coronavirus emergency, including a possible value-added tax cut.

Conte acknowledged that for the worst-hit sectors, like tourism, immediate financial aid will be needed, as the recovery will take time.

The Italian government is struggling to draw up a reforming plan able to shield the country’s fragile economy from the deep economic wounds inflicted by the pandemic, while also addressing its long-standing problems.

The ruling parties are still divided over the use of the European Union’s proposed multi-billion recovery fund, of which Italy is expected to obtain the largest share.

Italy was one of the worst-hit countries by the coronavirus pandemic, but since May it has registered a slowdown in contagions and death rates.

On Sunday, the Civil Protection Agency reported 24 new deaths from the virus, the smallest daily increase since March 2. The national tally of fatalities stands now at 34,634.

Sixteen out of 20 Italian regions didn’t report any death on Sunday. The number of active infections continued to fall, by 240, to reach 20,972.

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