A lot to be done on COVID recovery plan says Gentiloni

(ANSA) – ROME, MAR 2 – There is a lot to be done on framing
Italy’s COVID recovery plan, European Economic Affairs
Commissioner Paolo Gentiloni said Tuesday.
    “We cannot say we are late but it certainly won’t be a walk in
the park to complete the work”, he said.
    Italy must set rigorous timeframes for absorbing and
implementing EU COVID recovery funding, Gentiloni told
parliament.
    He said this was all the more important given Rome’s past
difficulties in using EU structural funds.
    “It is clear that this is a particular challenge for our
country,” said Gentiloni.
    Gentiloni said the Draghi government was working with the
Commission to boost the Conte recovery plan which “constitutes
an important base for work, above all consistent with the
thresholds of 37% for green investments and 20% in the digital
sector”.
    The other two points in the ongoing work between Rome and
Brussles are “the quality and selection of investments” and
long-awaited structural reforms to boost the economy and spur
growth after COVID, especially “boosting the health system,
fighting tax evasion, active labour policies, competition,
making the civil service more efficient, and speeding up civil
justice”.
    Cutting business-stifling red tape, reforming Italy’s
bloated and inefficient civil service, and speeding snail-paced
trials, all a drag on investment and growth, have long been
recommended by economists and Brussels.
    The new government led by former European central banker, ‘Super Mario’ Draghi, the man who saved the euro with ‘whatever
it takes’, has vowed to finally achieve these reforms.
    Implementing reforms will be a condition for the EU
approving Italy’s Recovery Plan, aimed at deploying 209 billion
euros from the EU’s Recovery Fund.
    In other remarks Tuesday, Gentiloni said he was “optimistic”
that 13% of the recovery funds could be paid out early, before
the summer. (ANSA).
   

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