Italy Parliament Approves Competition Bill to Unlock European Funds

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The Italian parliament has given its final approval to a highly contested bill to promote competition in product and services markets, required to help secure a new tranche worth 19 billion euros ($19.4 billion) of post-pandemic European funds, Reuters reported. The reform championed by the outgoing government of Prime Minister Mario Draghi has triggered protests from lobby groups, especially taxi drivers who were against opening up their sector to broader competition including from multinationals. After Draghi's national unity administration collapsed last month, measures related to the taxi drivers were removed from the bill following pressure from the rightist parties in parliament. In May Parliament also softened rules to open up tenders for lucrative contracts to manage bars and other facilities on the country's 7,500 kilometres of coastline. The bill establishes that current concessions remain in effect until the end of 2023. Italian authorities can extend them for a further year to conclude the tender process. Read more.
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