The year 2022 ends with hope

A measure that displeases everyone a little, even the Chamber’s parliamentarians, who were forced to work overtime even on Friday night for the vote of confidence that was postponed until late in the evening due to the too many technical errors found by the State Accounting Department on the text that came out of the Budget Committee. From the Trade Unions to Confindustria and the business community, everyone has something to complain about. The Budget Law’s total of 35 billion is allocated mainly to protect the families: an increase in the single allowance for large families, extension of the citizenship income for unemployable workers, the much-discussed culture bonus for young people, an increase in the Women’s Option to 60 (but only for caregivers, laid-off or disabled women) and parental leave that rises to 80% and can be extended to fathers.

The industrialists expected a more decisive intervention on lowering labor costs, while the unions wanted a total overcoming of “Fornero” Law on the pensions front. The Italians’ debate, however, was more focused on other measures, such as digital payments, on which, after the initial sprint, the majority took a step backwards, confirming the penalties for merchants who do not accept electronic payments for amounts below 60 euro; the cash ceiling, here too another false step after the initial intention to raise it to 10 thousand euro, and then to 5 thousand from the current 1.000; the increase to 85 thousand euro for VAT holders under the forfait regime and the introduction of the Flat Tax at 15%.

Also included in the measure is the extension to 31 December 2022 of the submission of the “Cila” for works related to the 110% superbonus. In addition, the 110% superbonus is extended to the expenses for the installation of solar photovoltaic systems carried out by non-profit organizations of social utility, voluntary organizations and associations for social promotion. As regards the bonus for the purchase of furniture and large household appliances, the maximum size of the allowance is increased from €5,000 for the years 2023 and 2024 to €8,000 for the year 2023 and €5,000 for the year 2024.

Politically speaking, the Budget Law, apart from a few predictable “skirmishes”, has not shifted the center of gravity of the government coalition: Giorgia Meloni has mediated well and collected a political success, that of having finished the budget measure in record time. But the feeling is that this is a victory to be claimed more in the propaganda and media sphere than on a strategic level. In the last few days there have also been some authoritative economists who have rehabilitated the recourse to the provisional exercise, until a few months ago indicated almost dogmatically as a dangerous risk to be averted, but now presented by some with a sort of regret, because it would have allowed time to be taken.

But the political week was dominated by another news item: Zelensky’s visit to Washington. Indeed, the Ukrainian President returned to center stage with his trip to meet with key ally, Joe Biden. But the summit revealed more than a divergence of views. By now it seems clear that Ukraine wants to win the conflict militarily in order to engage in negotiations aimed at restoring its territorial integrity. But to do this it needs heavy offensive weapons. Precisely those weapons that the US is unwilling to give, both so as not to create divisions within the NATO front and to avoid triggering an escalation of the conflict. A breach in Ukraine’s partnership with the West, a posture that, in part, weakens the party that many in the world hope will become predominant in 2023: that of those who want peace. But at the moment, given also Putin’s aggressive reaction, peace still seems far away.

The photo of Zelensky and Biden, however, is the most iconic of the year. A year that will be sadly remembered mainly for the outbreak of the dramatic invasion war in Europe, the first in 30 years.