The COVID-19 pandemic has brought to light how nations must be prepared for the most unexpected crises. Countries all over the world have conjured up ideas of recovery plans to help restore and improve the world. One country to look at as a model for the rest of the world is Italy. Specifically, the Italian government has formed ENEA Tech as a Foundation that will invest in new technology and generate jobs in order to jumpstart the economy. Through this Foundation, the NextGenerationEU program formed. The NextGenerationEU program has an approximate budget of €800 billion and will be a temporary tool to aid the recovery of economic and social consequences that COVID-19 caused. This will help Italy heal from the pandemic while changing the lives of Italian citizens and providing them with new opportunities.
The Main Elements
The extraordinary effort will contribute to the recovery of socioeconomic losses that the COVID-19 pandemic inflicted. It will also allow for the transition to a more efficient and sustainable Italy. More than 50% of the funding will go toward research and technology innovations, sustainable environmental and cultural reforms while providing planning and protection within the European Union. Additionally, 30% of the budget will address other issues including climate change, environmental conservation and gender equality. Meanwhile, 20% of the financial resources will support the digitalization of the economy and other technological innovations. Finally, between the years 2026 and 2027, 10% of the yearly investment will go toward preventing and repairing biodiversity degradation. The funding will undergo investment and dispersal to Italy and other European Union countries. Recipients will obtain resources in the form of grants and loans.
Through the NextGenerationEU program, Italy and other European countries will become more sustainable, digitized, healthy and diverse. In addition to the previous investments, the many benefits of the program’s efforts include:
- Investing in “green” technology, which will introduce more environmentally friendly means of transportation and make infrastructures and public areas more energy efficient.
- Protecting the environment through conserving water, minimizing pollution, using more sources of renewable energy and improving agricultural practices.
- Making the internet more accessible and affordable, meaning user data and electronic commerce will have more secure protection. The E.U. will also finance online education training to help people improve their digital abilities.
- Combatting health concerns by creating new vaccines and treatments, increasing access to medical supplies and investing in professional healthcare training.
- Creating more opportunities for internships and higher education while allocating more funds to loans and scholarships.
- Increasing job opportunities for people with disabilities and people living in impoverished communities.
- Fighting racism and xenophobia and supporting gender equality to honor diversity in all of its expressions.
The Next Steps
The European Commission and the European Parliament have made significant measures to ensure that authority leaders prioritize financial support and seek assistance through various NextGenerationEU mechanisms. Although the NextGenerationEU program is coming to fruition, individuals must continue to urge their respective national government leaders to help in developing and enacting recovery programs.
– Anna Lovelace