Italy must set timeframe for EU recovery funds – Gentiloni

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(ANSA) – ROME, MAR 2 – Italy must set rigorous timeframes for
absorbing and implementing EU COVID recovery funding, European
Economic Affairs Commissioner Paolo Gentiloni said Tuesday.
    He aid 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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