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Italy seeks to simplify notoriously knotted bureaucracy

ROME (AP) — Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte has described as “revolutionary” a new government decree aimed at simplifying Italy’s slow and cumbersome bureaucracy with the goal of getting the country's coronavirus-battered economy working again.

The decree approved early Tuesday also is intended to further digitize government services and to incentivize environmentally sustainable business development. The bulk of the decree is designed to unblock Italy’s notoriously knotted bureaucracy. It includes directives to speed up contract approvals, allow public works to begin even if contracts are contested and to penalize public officials who fail to approve authorizations in a timely manner.

Conte said the decree would be the “trampoline” that Italy needs to make the country more modern and competitive, particularly as it emerges from the dramatic economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic. Italy was the first country in Europe hit hard by the virus.

The Italian government's complicated bureaucracy, slow justice system and cumbersome tax regulations are frequently cited as reasons why the country routinely ranks poorly in global competitiveness surveys.

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