Italy’s costs to import energy will double to 100 billion euros

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CERNOBBIO, Italy, September 3 (Reuters) – Italy’s net energy import costs are expected to more than double this year to nearly 100 billion euros ($99.5 billion), the minister said. of the Economy, warning that Rome could not spend indefinitely to soften the blow on the economy.

Italy depends on imports for three-quarters of its electricity consumption, which increases its vulnerability to Europe’s current energy crisis.

Addressing the annual Ambrosetti business forum on Saturday, Economy Minister Daniele Franco said Italy’s high debt was reducing its room for maneuver in the future.

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Measures to help businesses and consumers cope with high energy bills will be approved next week, after six aid packages worth a total of 52 billion euros, Franco said.

“Continuing to offset, at least in part, rising energy prices through public finances is very expensive and we can never do enough,” he said.

Franco said it was essential to tackle the functioning of the European energy market, where soaring gas prices amid shrinking Russian exports have pushed up electricity prices.

“What matters is bringing the price of gas and energy down to sustainable levels,” Franco said.

Speaking at the same conference on Saturday, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said it was necessary to break any link between the price of gas and that of electricity, moving to “a total decoupling of gas and electricity prices.

Italy’s net energy imports cost 43 billion euros in 2021, broadly in line with previous years except for 2020 which was affected by the COVID-19 virus outbreak, Franco said. .

The increase of around 60 billion euros expected in 2022 represents around three percentage points of gross domestic product and will cancel out the net trade surplus with the rest of the world that Italy has recorded in recent years, Franco warned. .

“We are transferring a significant part of our purchasing power abroad,” he added.

($1 = 1.0049 euros)

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Reporting by Valentina Za and Elvira Pollina; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne and Mike Harrison

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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