(Bloomberg) -- Italy’s government sought parliamentary approval for 8 billion euros ($9.5 billion) of extra deficit this year, as Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte battles to shield the fragile economy from a coronavirus resurgence.
A cabinet meeting chaired by Conte approved the request to parliament late Friday night, according to a statement by the premier’s office. The government also signed off on a third package of aid, worth 1.95 billion euros for 2020, chiefly for shops and businesses hit by a soft lockdown in regions including Lombardy around Milan.
The euro area’s third-largest economy is struggling to finance relief measures for business and families hurt by the pandemic. Two emergency decrees tried to soften the blow for businesses forced to shut down but Italy only has enough money to cover the cost of stimulus for the month of November.
The government is expected to seek a further widening of the deficit in January.
The additional debt comes on top of a 38-billion-euro draft budget law for 2021-2023 and of 100 billion euros of stimulus deployed since February. The Finance Ministry estimates that each month of lockdown costs between 6 billion euros and 10 billion euros in relief measures and lost revenue.
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