Of the approximately 750 billion euros that Europe makes available to states to relaunch their economies after the pandemic (Next Generation EU), well 209 billion they are destined for Italy.
Of course, Europe does not give away with its eyes closed. He says they must be used according to precise functional development lines, above all to environmental sustainability, to technological innovation, to the reduction of inequalities. And within certain times. Each State will shortly present a specific Plan, which Europe must first be approved and then verified in its implementation.
Our country has atruly historic occasion. At least on paper, somewhat comparable to the Marshall Plan, the aid program implemented by the United States in favor of Europe in the immediate post-war period and which contributed to its reconstruction.
It is thus possible to relaunch the economy after the pandemic and fix once and for all the problems that have always plagued us. Starting with the lack of efficiency of the State Administration. Clear ideas, determination are needed. For this alone it is an imposing challenge. But there is another point of great importance: of the 209 billion available, around 128 are loans, albeit on favorable terms. Now, however, we all know that a loan must be repaid sooner or later. This is where you should be very careful.
The fact is that Italy unfortunately arrives at this appointment already with a debt among the highest in the world. Not far from 160%: it means that if we have a value of 100 of GDP (Gross Domestic Product, ie the sum of the value in money of all goods and services produced in a country in a year), the public debt is worth 160.
Debt is not ugly, dirty and bad always and in itself. It is no coincidence that Mario Draghi recently spoke of "good" and "bad" debt. A little debt is physiological for the life of states, so that they are able to provide efficient services as expected. It is needed, but you must be able to handle it wisely.
Public debt is the sum over the years of the difference between total government expenditure and revenue at the end of each year. The more efficient the state is in all its areas, the more economically positive it will be (in constant growth, solid, robust, which guarantees adequate tax revenues), the less it will need debt.
Debt it means that someone out there lends their money to the country by buying its government bonds and expecting a consequent return over time. The much-cited world financial markets, with all their protagonists.
The state pays interest on the securities issued. If it is considered unreliable (inefficient) or with poor growth prospects or, worse, in recession, those who finance it demand higher interest in exchange to cover the greater risk than a more reliable country.
Here lies the famous spread between Italy and Germany as a reference of reliability, that is, the difference in the amount of interest paid on government bonds issued and bought by investors.
It is a diabolical spiral from which it is difficult to escape: the less reliable it is, the more it pays high interest on the securities issued, the more it needs financial resources, the more it resorts to debt and so on. If the economic growth measured by GDP is higher than the interest rate paid on government bonds, it follows that the increase in tax revenues due to the increase in GDP will be higher than the interest expenditure and thus the public debt will tend to decrease over the years.
The debt is therefore connected to the growth and reliability of the state. Historically, it seems that our country has an innate propensity to make choices with a short-term vision, more inspired by reasons of immediate electoral consensus than by medium-long term strategy. It doesn't even seem to be a question of political alignments, there are no big differences.
This time, however, we will have to really avoid the risk of choices centered more than anything else on the present and very little on the future. Because the loans from Europe add to an already rather worrying condition of public debt and of stagnant or deficient growth.
We need a broad vision that from the present touches the future, in compliance with the EU guidelines, through the "National Recovery and Resilience Plan" which we hear so much discussed in these days. It is necessary to indicate the strategic objectives to be pursued and concrete implementation measures to engage a beneficial spiral of efficient development, shaping the country for the coming years.
La growth it is the way to create the real conditions to be able to repay the European loan and gradually recover from the public debt that we have been carrying around for decades. And don't leave the burden of an even more tangled skein to unravel to the future generation. At that point, other than Next Generation! All this may seem like just economics… but it is much more.