June 23. 2024. 8:35

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Italian MP: Meloni’s government can’t manage national recovery plan

The implementation of the national recovery plan is being delayed as Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni’s government struggles to solve the age-old problem related to the Public Administration spending funds from Brussels, MP Piero De Luca (PD/S&D) told EURACTIV Italy.

The Commission recently noted the slowdown in Italy’s implementation of the National Recovery Plan but gave an overall positive assessment and granted the government an extra month to meet the targets necessary to release the third €19 billion tranche.

“The government’s difficulties are obvious. The right-wing is showing all its inability to manage a historic occasion, an unprecedented opportunity for growth and development, obtained thanks to the commitment in particular of Democrats and progressives,” De Luca told EURACTIV Italy.

The Italian National Recovery Plan includes 358 measures financed by €191.5 billion from the Next Generation EU, plus €30.6 billion from the Supplementary Fund, taken from the state coffers.

“The technical choices made so far, such as the centralisation at Palazzo Chigi (seat of government) of not only political but also technical, operational and management coordination, are wrong because they risk creating a funnel such as to definitively bury the Plan,” De Luca stressed.

European Affairs Minister Raffaele Fitto (FDI/ECR) clearly said that “some interventions” cannot be implemented by 30 June 2026 and called for “opening a careful evaluation to understand how to recover resources”.

Shortly after these statements, the leader of the League’s (ID) group in the lower Chamber, Riccardo Molinari, sparked controversy by saying that “it is better not to spend the money (from the NRP) than to spend it badly.”

League leader Matteo Salvini, a government coalition member, clarified that he is confident that “Italy will spend it well” but that it will be necessary to “divert” some of the funds to other projects.

In light of this “political confusion” – as De Luca calls it – the Democratic Party (PD) called for a transparency operation and discussion in parliament of the government’s “real intentions” on the NRP.

Fitto responded to this request: “There is no difficulty in doing so, and above all, we see it as an excellent opportunity for discussion to deepen and clarify the substance of the issues”.

Following a recent meeting in Rome with EU Budget and Administration Commissioner Johannes Hahn, Fitto also emphasised the need for “the European Union to resort to maximum flexibility in using available resources, in light of the changing international and economic context”.

On the instructions of the European Commission, which had pointed out the inadequacy of the public administration to implement the NRP, the Italian government worked on a decree for the organisational strengthening of the public administration and the administrative capacity of local authorities through new hires.

“After several announcements, the government has passed a measure that provides for new hires in the Public Administration. A step that undoubtedly goes in the direction we also indicated”, De Luca commented.

“The structural gaps in staffing in the national and local public administration are there for all to see and create difficulties in planning and spending NRP funds”, the congressman added, stressing that the government should have more courage and intervene, especially in southern Italy.

“A work plan of at least 300,000 units over the next few years in the South alone is essential to transform and innovate our administrative machine,” he said. “The Plan is not at the disposal of a single Executive but is the heritage of the entire country. And it is decisive, especially for the South, to which 40% of the resources (of the NRP) are destined,” he added.

(Federica Pascale | EURACTIV.it)