Because the Meloni government gets into conflict with the Court of Auditors because of the Pnrr

Because the Meloni government gets into conflict with the Court of Auditors because of the Pnrr

The Meloni government has decided to abolish the accompanying – i.e. ongoing – control that the Court of Auditors carries out at the Pnrr. The decision, contained in the PA decree before the chamber, has been fiercely challenged by the court’s judges: the risk, they say, is that there are no longer effective controls over the funds spent.

In the Pa decree, the Meloni government inserted an amendment that eliminates this accompanying audit by the Court of Auditors on the work of the PNRR, the European plan worth hundreds of billions of euros that includes tens of thousands of projects. In practice, the Court will be able to carry out an ex-post review of the work and assess how the funds have been spent and will continue to issue a report every six months examining the implementation of the plan. However, it will no longer be able to intervene while projects are in progress to report defects, errors, waste or outright fraud as in the past.

Yesterday Giorgia Meloni, interviewed on Rete 4, defended herself by repeating what she previously claimed: “Let’s do what the previous government did“In reality, the government is invoking more of a formality than anything else, as the Draghi government has never talked about abolishing the controls involved. It is therefore useful to explain what Draghi has done, what Meloni wants to do, what we are.

What is concurrent control?

The concomitant control was officially introduced in 2009, but it was only activated in practice in 2020 by the second Conte government. This was before the Pnrr existed, although there was talk of a European plan. In the following years, the control was then carried out and also applied to the Pnrr: Since November 2021, a special group of auditors has been coordinating the work and drafting 48 resolutions on specific projects of the National Recovery and Resilience Plan published between 2022 and 2023.

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Because the Meloni government decided to interrupt it

The Meloni government has decided to end these control activities. On the one hand, he said it was a job superfluous because even the European Court of Auditors can carry out an audit of the work. Action chairman Carlo Calenda also voiced his support. However, it must be said that some skeptical comments on the decision came from the European Union, provoking an angry reaction from the Italian government.

The difference to the Draghi government

Giorgia Meloni’s manager defended herself by saying that she was only implementing something envisaged by the Draghi government, and agreed with the EU. In fact, in 2021 Mario Draghi’s government laid down the tasks of the Court of Auditors in relation to the Pnrr in a decree coordinated with Brussels. Hence, for example, the fact that the court produces a report every six months. But in this decree there was no mention of concurrent control. According to Raffaele Fitto, the minister responsible for the Pnrr, this means the cancellation is in line with what the previous executive branch did.

However, Draghi has never spoken of lifting the parallel exam. Also for this i court judge have so far been clearly critical of the election. As the government continued to raise the issue of trust in the PA decree that will make the lifting of the check final, the judges held a convention yesterday. A statement claimed that relaxing controls “reduces the protection of public finances” as “it is not the functions of accounting justice that are at stake, but the protection of citizens”.

The other conflict item: the control screen for the mayors

The other issue where the Court has highlighted risks is that of revenue sign, which protects administrators (e.g. mayors) from liability for economic damage to the municipality (or its administration) when a project fails, unless they have a clear intention to damage public finances. The protective shield was born during the pandemic to allow local governments some flexibility. It was then extended to June 30, 2023 to ease the Pnrr’s work and reduce “fear of signing”.

The Meloni government intends to do this extend it even further, with the same pa decree. Again, the Prime Minister said she was simply following in the footsteps of her predecessors. However, there is a risk for the Court of Justice that controls over how public money is spent are becoming too restrictive.

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