Italy’s Meloni tightens control over national recovery plan after COVID-19

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ROME (Reuters) – Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni plans to put the management of Italy’s post-COVID-19 recovery plans under her direct control, government officials say. told Reuters on Thursday. .

Rome has so far secured around €86bn of European Union money due to expire by 2026, but has met so-called ‘goals and milestones’ agreed with EU authorities to release the money. I’m having a hard time doing it.

The use of government funds has also been delayed. The company’s initial investment program envisaged spending more than €40 billion by 2022, but this estimate has been revised downward three times, and in December he was set at less than €20 billion. I was.

Meloni wants to set up a dedicated unit within his office to be responsible for implementing the recovery plan, according to a draft decree seen by Reuters, which he will announce at a cabinet meeting scheduled for Thursday at 16:30 (15:30 GMT). It will be approved.

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The new institution replaces another organization under Meloni’s predecessor, Mario Draghi, which remained in place until 2026, even after a change of government.

The move demonstrates Meloni’s goal of putting the planning decision-making process in the hands of her chief of staff.

As part of a broader package, the decree shortens deadlines for obtaining permits and strengthens Rome’s powers to overcome opposition from local authorities to EU-funded projects.

EU Minister Raphael Fit is renegotiating parts of Italy’s recovery plan with the European Commission, urging the EU to consider the impact of high raw material prices on public works, according to people familiar with the matter. It says.

These discussions are part of the process of selecting projects eligible for the so-called REPowerEU scheme, which aims to end the EU’s dependence on Russia’s fossil fuels and tackle the climate crisis.

Funding from the EU could be used to build a link to bring hydrogen produced in North Africa to northern Europe, sources previously said.

Italy’s right-wing government plans to complete overall negotiations with the EU by the end of April.

(Reporting by Giuseppe Fonte; Editing by Keith Weir)

Copyright 2023 Thomson Reuters.

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