Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi announced Tuesday that the government would be allocating an additional billion euros to beef up its security forces throughout the country.
Renzi’s announcement came just two weeks before the opening of the Jubilee Year of Mercy called for by Pope Francis, which is expected to draw millions of pilgrims to Rome.
The Prime Minister spelled out a series of measures to meet the new security requirements, including an investment of 150 million Euros for cybersecurity and another 50 million euro to upgrade police equipment, as well as five hundred million euro allotted for areas of strategic military defense.
He also announced an 80-euro bonus for all police and security employees.
Speaking from Rome’s City Hall, Renzi said that ISIS would not succeed in cowing the Italian people.
“We will not change our way of life, nor resign ourselves to terror, nor surrender before them,” he said.
To emphasize his point, the Prime Minister said that the government would be matching the outlays for increased security with a similar uptick in spending on culture, to show the Islamists that Italy is still Italy.
“What happened in Paris marked a qualitative leap in the cultural battle that we are living,” Renzi said.
“They imagine terror, we respond with culture,” he said. Otherwise, “We risk that the Paris attacks leave Europe as collateral victim,” Renzi said.
All this increased spending comes at a price, and Renzi said he would delay corporate income tax cuts until 2017 to enable the added spending on security and culture.
Renzi’s spending plans may come up against other obstacles as well, such as the European Union’s Stability and Growth Pact, which limits the spending of member states.
Brussels has cautioned Italy, as well as three other EU countries, that their draft 2016 budgets may break the rules. Italy’s public debt is second in the euro zone only to Greece’s.
Follow Thomas D. Williams on Twitter @tdwilliamsrome