Italy introduces a new programme to lessen the effects of rising energy prices

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The Italian Cabinet of Ministers passed legislation granting billions of euros in tax savings and financing for natural gas as the Italian government attempted to mitigate the detrimental economic effects of rising fuel prices.

Mario Draghi, the prime minister, made the declaration late on Thursday as he was leaving Spain after the NATO summit. Draghi participated in the first two summit days in Madrid, but on the final day, Lorenzo Guerini, the defence minister of Italy, took his place.

The Prime Minister did not give a precise dollar figure for the aid package in his remarks, but he did say that it would finance loans to energy market operator GSE (Manager of Energy Services) totaling 4 billion euros (USD 4.2 billion) to help fill up gas storage before demand increases next winter.

Gas storage is currently between 50 and 60 percent full, according to him, and his administration is “confident” that it will reach its goal of 90 percent capacity by November.

According to Italian media, the total package, which included the financing for GSE, may have been valued up to 8 billion euros. This includes funding for long-term gas import contracts and a reduction in taxes on energy bills.