MNI BRIEF: EU's Gentiloni Wants Italy To Try Harder On NGEU
The Italian government is not giving enough priority to National Recovery Plan investments and reforms funded by the European Union’s NextGenEU programme, Economy Commissioner Paolo Gentiloni said in an event in Milan on Monday.
“I would like [NextGenEU] to become an obsession for the Italian ruling class,” said Gentiloni, who complained that the country’s government and media were giving too much attention to “less urgent” issues like plans for a flat tax or the Messina bridge to unite Sicily with the peninsula. (See MNI:Italy Decree To Boost Meloni's Control Over EUR200Bln Plan)
“It is a race against time but we knew that it would be like that,” he said acknowledging the challenges of unlocking NextGen funds every six months. Until now Italy has made targeted conditions for unlocking funds, but from now on meeting deadlines will be harder as upcoming reforms are politically more complicated, he said.
Brussels is open to modifications to the plan in order to make allowance for inflation or remove projects that no longer make sense and is working closely with the Italian government, which will soon present its next request for funds, he said.
“But we need to get our hands dirty and make this work,” he added, saying that investments and action points need to be monitored after they are formally approved by the government.