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Italy: COVID-19 - EIB lends €2 billion for the healthcare system


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The Italian healthcare system is also being reinforced to tackle the emergency situation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. This is being conducted with the backing of the EU bank, the EIB, which is providing the Italian government with a €2 billion loan covering around two-thirds of the resources needed for the operations contained in the Decree for revival of the healthcare system


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  • Projects financed in support of hospitals: 3 500 new intensive therapy beds, 4 225 semi-intensive care beds, four mobile units with 300 intensive therapy beds, restructuring of 651 A&E departments, medical supplies and healthcare equipment, medical transportation, 9 600 additional healthcare staff (including temps), home care services and digital systems for remote patient monitoring.
  • The EU bank’s loan covers around two-thirds of the costs provided for by the Decree for revival of the healthcare system
  • An initial tranche of €1 billion has already been finalised
  • This is one of the EIB’s largest ever operations in the whole of Europe

The Italian healthcare system is also being reinforced to tackle the emergency situation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. This is being conducted with the backing of the EU bank, the European Investment Bank (EIB), which is providing the Italian government with a €2 billion loan covering around two-thirds of the resources needed for the operations contained in the Decree for revival of the healthcare system.

This announcement was made today in Rome at the signing of the operations by the EIB, the Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF), the Ministry of Health and the government’s Special Commissioner to tackle the COVID-19 healthcare emergency. The loan runs to €2 billion in total and an initial €1 billion tranche was already finalised today.

Specifically, the framework loan to the Italian Republic will be channelled through the MEF. The Ministry of Health will play an active role in the project and the government’s Special Commissioner is in charge of implementing the regional plans, including through delegated officials such as the Presidents of the Regions. This structure is considered to be able to ensure a coordinated and efficient response in terms of planning, implementation and monitoring of the projects. The operation comes under the Italian government's Decree for revival of the healthcare system (enacted by Law 77/2020), which provides for €3.25 billion in support of the health sector.

This is one of the biggest loans ever provided for a single operation in the whole European Union since the EIB was created over 60 years ago. The term of the loan is 15 years.

The loan will finance the operations included in the emergency plans of the Regions in response to the pandemic, in particular:

  • strengthening of the hospital network with 3 500 new intensive therapy beds, 4 225 semi-intensive care beds, four mobile units with 300 intensive therapy beds, restructuring of 651 A&E departments, medical consumables and healthcare equipment, medical transportation, and 9 600 additional healthcare staff (including temps).
  • support for territorial assistance, with reinforcement of infrastructure and digital systems for home and residential care services and for remote patient monitoring, and activation of regional operational hubs for monitoring of patients.

“In recent months Italy has come through a very challenging period showing great discipline and an extraordinary sense of responsibility. The operation finalised today will make our healthcare system, which has enabled our country to respond quickly to such a difficult challenge, much stronger. With these substantial resources, which will be deployed as part of the government’s response to the crisis, Italy will continue to tackle the COVID-19 healthcare emergency with the same sense of responsibility, consolidating the cooperation between various government authorities in this joint effort that involves the entire country. The EIB must be applauded for its strong commitment, which provides further evidence of the EU institutions’ ability to respond effectively to this global challenge”, said the Minister of Economy and Finance Roberto Gualtieri.

The EIB was established with Italy's backing in 1957 by the Treaties of Rome and the tasks entrusted to it included subsidiarity, support for less advanced regions and sectors with critical concerns. We are proud therefore to announce today this operation with Italy, the European country struck first by the pandemic and which responded with great energy. This operation is making the necessary liquidity immediately available on favourable terms for the urgent strengthening of healthcare structures in response to the COVID-19 emergency. The EIB and the European Union have the task and the duty to be close partners of EU citizens, businesses and administrations at times of great difficulty: we strive to do it as best we can through our unprecedented efforts”, said EIB Vice-President Dario Scannapieco.

The spread of the virus has put both the public health sector and the economy under extreme pressure and there are still difficult months ahead of us. Strengthening our hospitals and healthcare system is part of the response to the crisis to try to create the best possible conditions for living with the virus. The government’s Special Commissioner is the person in charge of implementing the plans. We have already started to look at what’s needed so that we can begin strengthening the healthcare system of the whole country as soon as possible. We now have the opportunity to do just that and we mustn’t squander that opportunity”, stated the Special Commissioner for the Healthcare Emergency Domenico Arcuri