When she took office in Italy, Giorgia Meloni knew that it was not going to be easy with the situation that all the European economies were experiencing after the outbreak of the war in Ukraine, but she surely did not think that the malaise was going to start so soon. And it is that the decision of the prime minister not to renew the cut in excise taxes on gasoline has raised blisters among Italians. Without the discount, the price of fuel has become more expensive and it is already the first headache for the Executive, in which tensions do not stop rising after the protests called at the country’s gas stations.
With the signature of the President of the Republic, Sergio Mattarella, the so-called “fuel decree” comes into force today, approved in the last council of ministers and which contains a series of measures to counteract the increase in fuel prices for last few days, but focused on what they have considered the “speculation” of the gas stations.
These measures, such as having to display the average price approved each day at each gas station together with the price at which it is sold, and the accusations of “speculation” led to the announcement of strikes by the sector that were later “frozen” before the opening of a negotiating table that will continue this Tuesday.
The decree does not contain any measure to immediately reduce the price of fuel and Meloni in several statements established his decision not to renew the discount of about 18 cents per liter in excise taxes -those introduced for years to allow the State to finance itself before but then have remained – and that the government of Mario Draghi had imposed to control prices.
Meloni thought that given the economic situation in the country it was not the right time, since, according to experts, this measure cost around 1,000 million euros per month and benefited everyone and not those with lower incomes. In its final version, the decree provides that distributors must display the regional average next to the sale of their fuel and provides for fines that can range between 500 and 6,000 euros for those who do not.
The Government has indeed renewed a Draghi measure that grants a one-time bonus of 60 euros for the purchase of public transport passes, but it has reduced the number of those who are entitled to it: those with an income of less than 20,000 euros can request it and not the 35,000 as before.
The decision to maintain excise taxes sparked a wave of protests by the opposition that reminded Meloni, who in his government program promised to lower the price of gasoline, but also by various members of his own majority.
According to the Italian media, the president of Forza Italia, Silvio Berlusconi, an ally in the government, assured that “the gasoline decision is Meloni’s first mistake.”