ROME (Reuters) – The government of Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi plans to temporarily hire more than 22,000 public administration workers to help implement Italy’s five-year stimulus plan, according to a draft decree consulted by Reuters.
Italy is eligible for over 200 billion euros ($ 242.20 billion) in grants and cheap loans from the EU Stimulus Fund, making it the biggest recipient of the 750 prize pool. billion euros set up to help the 27 countries of the bloc recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The decree to be approved by the cabinet on Friday is part of a larger package of measures and reforms promised to the European Commission to obtain a first tranche of 25 billion euros by the end of August.
Italy has cut public sector employment for many years by freezing turnover, in an effort to reduce spending and debt. Comparative data from Eurostat showed that at the end of 2018 some 13% of Italian workers were employed by the government, compared to a European average of 16%.
The vast majority of hires will go to the judicial sector. The acceleration of the notoriously slow legal proceedings in Italy is one of the priority areas of reform promised to the EU.
According to the plan, some 16,500 civil servants will be employed in so-called “trial offices”, which aim to speed up court proceedings by providing judges with qualified support staff. The contracts have a maximum duration of two years and nine months.
An additional 5,410 people will be deployed to other parts of the justice system, according to the project.
To help the Treasury monitor the progress of Italy’s investment plan, 500 temporary staff are to be assigned to the State accounts.
The governance of Italy’s recovery and resilience plan will be led by Draghi and key ministers, while the Ministry of Economy is responsible for drawing attention to any issues in the progression of investments.
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Editing by Gavin Jones and Chizu Nomiyama