EU urges Italy to stick to programme as approves more funding

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The European Commission urged the new Italian government to stick to reform plans as it cleared the way on Tuesday for the payment of an additional 21 billion euros ($20.2 billion) in post-COVID recovery funds.

The Commission said Italy had met a series of 45 landmarks and targets in reform of areas such as public employment, procurement, tax administration, teaching and healthcare to qualify for another part of a 192 billion euro programme.

“So congratulations, Italia, and keep up the good work! The Commission stands by you on your way to recovery,” European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen said in a statement.

A right-wing alliance led by Giorgia Meloni won the Italian national election on Sunday, raising concerns in Brussels that relations with the new government would be more difficult than under Prime Minister Mario Draghi.

Economy Commissioner Paolo Gentiloni said the funding offered a unique chance to transform the Italian economy.

“I urge the next Italian government to ensure that this opportunity is seized,” Gentiloni, a former Italian prime minister, said in a statement.

Meloni said before the election that there should be scope to amend the programme to reflect the impact of the energy crisis.

The latest funding, still subject to final EU sign-off, will be invested in areas such as 5G telecoms, tourism and reforms to the justice system.

Italy has already received some 46 billion euros of funding which is paid in the form of grants and loans.

via Reuters

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