The government is trying to speed up the Pnrr so as not to lose funds, Europe wants a proposal quickly

The government is trying to speed up the Pnrr so as not to lose funds, Europe wants a proposal quickly

Europe Minister Fitto has asked the rest of the government to let him know which Pnrr works are at risk. The aim is to start negotiations with the EU Commission between June and July. Commissioner Gentiloni said the proposal had to be in place “as soon as possible” in order not to lose funds.

The government is now attempting to expedite the Pnrr but the accumulated delays are great and there is still work to be done if you will revise the plan almost entirely. In the last few days, Europe Minister Raffaele Fitto has called on all ministries to give him answers quickly: a list of jobs that can be “sacrificed” because they are difficult to implement, those that have to be postponed with longer deadlines and those that instead, either because they are vital or simply because they are feasible, must be pushed with the Pnrr.

The reply letters arrived yesterday, and now it’s Fitto’s turn to try to put together a summary. The more or less stated goal is always the same: eliminate a large number of minor interventionsto focus more resources on large companies, moving them to the RepowerEu plan (which has a longer deadline, 2027) and to the Cohesion Policy funds (which can be used until 2029). In short: bringing forward the deadlines for projects that cannot be implemented within the timeframe set by the Pnrr.

The Commission’s warning: ‘Start the discussion as soon as possible, otherwise the funds will be at risk’

However, there is little scope for this. In the past, the government had committed to submitting the full list of changes to the European Commission by April 30, but then changed its mind, citing the fact that the only formally binding deadline was August 31. Fitto’s plan now would be to have a complete list within the month of June. Also because the negotiations with the European Commission are not expected to be easy: just look at how long they are taking for the payment of the third tranche of the plan, worth 19 billion euros, which relate to the deadlines in December 2022 and beyond are not completed.

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Yesterday, EU Economy Commissioner Paolo Gentiloni commented on the Commission’s recommendations to Italy: “We must not look at formal deadlines but at reality, and reality shows that Italy should apply for a fourth tranche in June and a fifth in December. ‘ Maintaining such a pace requires discussion of motions to amend the National Recovery and Resilience Plan This is done as soon as possible, otherwise it will be difficultif we want to maintain the established pace.” In short, the other two installments of 2023 are also at risk, a total of 34 billion euros.

Scrutinized by Parliament, then negotiations with Brussels

Minister Fitto is expected in Parliament next week Semi-annual report on the Pnrr, late again. There will be a confrontation with the Chamber, where the opposition has long held the government accountable for progress made. On the other hand, Giorgia Meloni’s manager has been talking about an overhaul of the PNRR since the beginning of her tenure, and six months after taking office, Italy is in deep trouble.

In the ideal scenario proposed by Fitto, as already mentioned, the revised plan will be ready in the next few days and will be presented to the Commission in June. This will get the negotiations going and it can be hoped that they will be well on their way by the end of the summer. But with Brussels there will be many critical points to deal with: including all 2023 targets overdue – 96 in total – several of which expire in June. By the end of the year there are 69 deadlines, including some that require a lot of administrative work, such as the award of all public works for subways, funicular railways and cycle paths in metropolitan areas.

As already mentioned, to address these problems, Italy will propose to thoroughly reconsider the PNRR and postpone several deadlines with the “trick” of reassigning them to other European funds. The Vice-President of the European Commission, Valdis Dombrovskis, was not reassuring on this aspect yesterday: “It is important to engage and ensure that the PNRR are implemented correctly,” he said, “because there is a deadline.” End 2026. And I would say that’s a lot It is unlikely that this deadline will be extended“.

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