EU recovery plan 'excellent sign', Italy's Conte says
Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte on Wednesday hailed a proposal by the European Union's chief for a 750-billion-euro post-virus recovery fund as "an excellent sign from Brussels".
"It goes in the direction indicated by Italy. We were described as visionaries because we believed in it from the beginning," he said on Facebook.
Heavily-indebted Italy was hit particularly hard by the coronavirus -- with nearly 33,000 deaths -- and has insisted the bloc pull out the big guns to help rebuild economies slowly emerging from lengthy lockdowns.
"500 billion in grants and 250 billion in loans is a fair amount. Now let's speed up the negotiations and release the resources soon," he added.
Of the plan's 750 billion euros ($825 billion), Italy would receive up to 81.8 billion in direct aid and 90.9 billion in loans, according to a document seen by AFP.