Italy passes decree to secure prompt implementation of EU-funded Recovery Plan


  • World
  • Tuesday, 27 Feb 2024

ROME, Feb. 26 (Xinhua) -- The Italian government on Monday passed a decree including measures to secure a timely implementation of the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (NRRP) by its due deadline in 2026.

Outlined by the previous government after the COVID-19 emergency, and agreed with the European Union (EU), Italy's NRRP is worth 194.4 billion euros (211 billion U.S. dollars) provided by the EU to support crucial investments and reforms.

The decree will allow Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni's office to suppress implementing bodies and appoint special commissioners in their place, if specific projects attached to the NRRP appear at risk of not meeting their deadlines.

This would happen in case monitoring authorities found the implementation of one or more projects was behind the official schedule provided by the managing bodies.

The new decree will also require any NRRP project's title-holder to return the allotted funds, in case the European Commission -- the EU executive body -- finds out omissions or gaps in implementing the objectives of the plan.

Minister for European Affairs Raffaele Fitto told a press conference after the cabinet meeting that the measures would "increase monitoring powers and introduce a principle of responsibility in case of non-fulfilment for all subjects involved in spending (the EU funds)."

Italy's NRRP is part of a 750-billion-euro European Recovery Fund provided by the Next Generation EU program, which the EU launched in July 2020 to help member states cope with the economic consequences of the pandemic.

The overall 194.4 billion-euro funding for Italy consists of 122.6 billion euros in loans and 71.8 billions euros in grants, and it is expected to finance 66 major reforms and 150 investments by 2026.

Rome has received four instalments so far and Brussels has recently approved the request for the fifth one.

According to the last assessment by Rome's government, the country has so far received some 113 billion euros and spent 45.6 billions. (1 euro = 1.09 U.S. dollars)

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