EC greenlights Italy’s recovery plan

EC greenlights Italy's recovery plan

Brussels (Brussels Morning) Italy’s Prime Minister Mario Draghi informed the Cabinet on Saturday that he has reached agreement on the country’s recovery plan with the European Commission, Reuters reported.

Italy is planning to launch projects worth more than 220 billion euro, to be financed from EU and national funds, in its drive to recover from the coronavirus crisis.

The Minister of Economy and Finance, Daniele Franco, presented the plan to the Cabinet on Saturday after a 12-hour delay due to the talks with Brussels.

Minor details need changing

PM Draghi’s spokesperson pointed out that he intervened personally in the talks, which included a call with EC President Ursula von der Leyen.

The spokesperson noted some “marginal adjustments” still need to be made to the plan, but reiterated that it had been given the green light by the EC.

On Sunday, the government said it had sent the plan to lawmakers, with Draghi scheduled to present it today and tomorrow.

The Italian Parliament could review the plan further before it receives final approval from the Cabinet and is submitted to Brussels. The Prime Minister’s Office stressed the plan would be submitted before the 30 April deadline.

The EC was concerned over lack of details on structural reforms and the way investments would be implemented and monitored, according to unnamed sources.

The plan focuses on six key areas — digitalisation, education and research, social inclusion, green transition, infrastructure and health.

Aims to up GDP 3.6% by 2026

According to the government, Italy’s GDP in 2026 will be 3.6% higher than it would have been without reforms and investments in the plan.

Italy is set to absorb 204.5 billion euro from EU recovery funds and the government is to add roughly 30.6 billion of its own borrowing to help the country bounce back from the coronavirus crisis.

The EC pointed out that the 30 April deadline for presenting national recovery plans was flexible and predicted that half of the bloc would likely submit the plans in May.