MILAN (AP) — Italian Premier Giorgia Meloni launched a pact Thursday with Italian industry aimed at keeping prices down on a range of essential goods, including food, personal care and baby items, which consumer advocates said could mean billions in savings for families.
The experimental program runs from Oct. 1 to Dec. 31 and involves 32 associations that have agreed to discount or maintain a ceiling on the prices of particular items during the three-month period.
“I think this is the first time that the entire Italian system, from food production to general consumer products, signed a pact with the government to keep prices in the shopping cart under control, to help families, especially those in difficulty,” Meloni said.
The Assountenti consumer group praised the project, calculating potential savings at 4 billion euros ($4.22 billion), but said there were many unknowns, including exactly which products are included.
The industry players include supermarket chains, small retailers as well as food and drug producers. Participating stores are expected to signal their participation with stickers in the green, red and white colors of the Italian flag.
Inflation is a challenge for Italy’s government, even if it has fallen from peaks following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Italy’s economic development minister, Adolfo Urso, said the country’s inflation has dropped below the European Union’s average, from 11.7% when Meloni took office last October to 5.4% in September.
The EU’s statistics office will release new inflation figures Friday. Consumer prices in August rose 5.9% in the 27-nation EU from a year earlier and 5.2% in the 20 countries using the euro currency. That’s down from the eurozone’s record-high 10.6% in October 2022.