«Italy can still do it, ahead with the reforms. The third installment? More commitment»- Corriere.it

«Italy can still do it, ahead with the reforms.  The third installment?  More commitment»- Corriere.it

BRUSSELS — "We see some risks in some Member States and that is why we are calling for the acceleration of the implementation of the National Recovery and Resilience Plans". The vice president of the EU Commission Valdis speaks Dombrovskis to a small group of European media, including the Corriere della Sera, on the day when the EU Commission presented the Country-Specific Recommendations, which Member States will have to keep in mind when preparing their budget laws for 2024. «It is important engage and ensure that Pnrrs are implemented correctly – continues Dombrovskis – because there is a deadline of the end of 2026. And I would say that it is very unlikely that this deadline will be extended, because it will require a unanimous decision of the Member States which will involve in most cases, in almost all cases, a parliamentary procedure. So that's something that would be very difficult. Therefore, our message to member states is to focus on implementing the plans and not on some sort of extension of deadlines.'

How worried are you about Italy's delays in implementing the Pnrr? What prevents the payment of the third tranche?
«Italy has already received two payments and we are verifying the request for the third tranche. It is important that implementation continues and that there are no delays. In our recommendations, we explain that it is important to strengthen administrative capacity, especially at the sub-national level, to enable continuous, rapid and consistent implementation of the Pnrr. It is important for Italy to present the revised plan with the RePowerEu chapter to ensure its implementation, without lowering the overall ambition of the plan and without slowing down its implementation".

How can the EU help Italy in dealing with the emergency in Emilia-Romagna?
«The EU is supporting Italy in dealing with this natural disaster. The European civil protection mechanism has already been activated and several countries are offering their support on the ground. Furthermore, the Emergency Response Coordination Center is in constant contact with the Italian authorities. From the point of view of financial support, we have an area dedicated to post-disaster relief: there is the European Solidarity Fund which can provide support to Italy if it requests it and there are huge funds available for countries to adapt to climate change and for the reduction of geological risks in the field of cohesion policy and the Pnrr".

How can Italy limit net primary expenditure and at the same time make the necessary investments for the green and digital transition?
«Our fiscal recommendation for Italy is an improvement in the structural balance of 0.7% of GDP, which translates into an increase in national primary expenditure of 1.3%. So how to limit this increase? The first thing we recommend, similar to other countries, is to reduce energy support measures and to use the related savings to reduce the public deficit. Another important point for investments is to ensure rapid implementation of the Pnrr. Italy is the largest beneficiary in absolute terms of the Recovery and Resilience Facility (the main tool of Next Generation Eu which feeds the Pnrr, ed), large sums of money are available and Italy has also indicated an interest in receiving further loans from this facility. But it is important that investment projects are implemented safely and with zeal: a strong focus on the implementation of the plan will help with the green and digital transition.

Are you worried about Italy's regional autonomy project? There is a passage in the recommendations.
“We do not meddle in the constitutional issues of the member states, which have to be discussed and decided by the member states. This is not a matter for the Commission when we discuss, for example, the implementation of the recovery and resilience plan. In fact, we have underlined the need to ensure adequate administrative capacity, including in the Regions".

Several countries are calling for a slowdown in legislative proposals related to the Green deal to take into account the needs of the industry.
“It is clear that we have to pay attention to our industries, to competitiveness and, more generally, to our economic competitiveness. We recently presented the Communication on the long-term competitiveness of the EU in which we assess the factors of competitiveness and how we can secure a stronger position, because it is true that, for example, gross productivity growth in the EU has been slower compared to other major economies. It is important that the effects of our political initiatives are taken into account".

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