The Cura Italia Decree also extends the validity of administrative authorizations.

By Cesare Milani

On March 17, 2020, the Italian government adopted Law Decree No. 18/2020 (the Cura Italia Decree), providing for a contingency package of extraordinary measures to strengthen the national health service and provide financial and economic support to families, workers, and companies facing the pandemic.

The Cura Italia Decree entered into force on March 17, 2020, and shall be converted into law, following potential amendments, within 60 days from its adoption.

From a public law perspective, the Cura Italia Decree sets forth the following key measures:

  1. Suspension of terms relating to administrative procedures

All administrative procedures, initiated either by private individuals/entities or by public authorities, which are pending as of February 23, 2020, or that commence after such date, shall be suspended until April 15, 2020. Therefore, the period between February 23, 2020, and April 15, 2020, shall not be taken into account for the purposes of the relevant time elapsing and the relevant procedures.

In this respect, all public authorities shall implement appropriate organizational measures to ensure a reasonable duration and a swift conclusion of all the ongoing administrative procedures, prioritizing cases/proceedings deemed to be “urgent” on the basis of the reasons indicated by the involved parties.

The same principle applies to the computation of the terms that are relevant for the purposes of the automatic consent (“silenzio-assenso”) and the automatic refusal (“silenzio-rifiuto”) mechanisms proceedings.

  1. Extension of validity of administrative acts

Any and all certificates, attestations, permits, concessions, and authorizations expiring between January 31 and April 15, 2020, shall remain valid until June 15, 2020.

The Cura Italia Decree provides for exceptions to the above-mentioned rules with respect to the payment of salaries, pensions, wages for self-employment, unemployment benefits, and other allowances issued by the social security, including social security benefits.

However, specific time limits — which were already set forth by Law Decrees No. 6 of February 23, 2020, No. 9 of March 2, 2020, and No. 11 of March 8, 2020 and their implementing acts (all pertaining to the COVID-19 emergency) — shall not be affected by the Cura Italia Decree.

  1. Appointment of an “Extraordinary Commissioner”

The Cura Italia Decree appoints an Extraordinary Commissioner with powers to implement and coordinate the measures necessary to face the COVID-19 emergency. In particular, the role’s main powers include the following:

  • Implementation and supervision of the measures concerning the sanitary emergency, including the organization, acquisition, and support of/to the production of the assets required in relation to the emergency
  • Reorganization of hospitals, in particular with respect to the intensive care wards
  • Adoption of any necessary measures (including the construction of new premises) to preserve and protect the production lines of the assets required for the COVID-19 emergency

The Cura Italia Decree will therefore have a wide impact on all ongoing and newly started administrative procedures.

  1. Golden Power” regulation

With particular reference to the potential impact of the Cura Italia Decree on the so-called “Golden Power” regulation (Law Decree No. 21/2012, as subsequently converted into law and amended and supplemented, and the relevant implementing regulations), even though no specific provision on the exercise of the special powers of the Italian government under the Golden Power regulation are set forth in the Cura Italia Decree, it can be inferred that all ongoing terms relating to the notifications submitted, either prior to or after February 23, 2020, pursuant to the above-mentioned Law Decree No. 21/2012, shall be suspended until April 15, 2020.

Therefore, in relation to the notifications made prior to February 23, 2020, all terms (including those relating to the exercise of the powers vested upon the Italian government) under the Golden Power regulation shall be deemed to have commenced elapsing on the date of submission of the notification until February 23, 2020. The procedural terms shall start running again from April 15, 2020. As to notifications submitted after February 23, 2020, the relevant applicable terms shall start running from April 15, 2020.

Latham & Watkins will continue to monitor developments in this area and relevant public law matters.