Friday, June 9

Brussels delays the third payment of European funds to Italy for the “pending elements” in the reforms

Brussels gives Giorgia Meloni’s government more time to carry out the reforms of the recovery plan for which 19,000 million euros of the total 192,000 million planned until 2026 correspond to it. The European Commission has delayed the payment of the third disbursement to Italy , which was the only country, together with Spain, that had requested it. However, in the Spanish case, the community government and the 27 have given the go-ahead to the reform plan, despite the omens from the right, and the transfer is finalizing; while in Italian, this has not been the case because there are “pending elements”.

Feijóo suggests that the pension reform that has set France on fire is better than the one agreed by the Government in Brussels


Italy had already agreed with the European Commission an extension of one month over the two months that are usually established for the evaluation of the milestones and reforms corresponding to each disbursement. Now it has been forced to apply an extension of another 30 days to “finish the work on both sides”, according to community sources, who maintain that the decision was adopted by mutual agreement. In fact, the Italian government reported the delay in a statement on Monday afternoon.

“The Commission appreciates the relevant progress in recent weeks and looks forward to continuing to work in cooperation with the Italian authorities to address all the pending elements in this complex payment request,” they admit in Brussels.

According to the Italian press, the doubts in Brussels have to do with the port licensing system and with various urban renewal projects in the package of 55 measures that Italy had to undertake to receive the agreed 19,000 million.

Even so, the Community Executive tries to minimize the importance of the delay. “This extension is not unusual. It has happened in the evaluations of payment requests from other member states ”, indicate those same sources.

Brussels presented a few weeks ago the penalty system in case of non-compliance with the recovery plan. So far there has not been any country that has stopped applying the commitments made, but it may be the case. The mechanism is based on a system of coefficients with which Brussels intends that the punishment be harsher – in the form of a reduction in the amounts provided – depending on the importance of the milestone or objective that is breached.

However, what had occurred so far were extensions of the two months provided for in the regulation before the evaluation began. This was the case in the Italian and Spanish cases regarding the third payment because, among other things, the work coincided with the Christmas break.

The Spanish right took the opportunity to question whether the European funds were going to reach the public coffers. In fact, Alberto Núñez Feijóo took advantage of his presence in Brussels last week to question the plan. “European funds are not being managed effectively and they are not reaching the productive economy,” he said at a press conference after meeting with the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen.

His statements came a week after the 27 endorsed the third disbursement for Spain, which had already received the go-ahead from the European Commission, which plans to make the payment these days. With the 6,000 million corresponding to the 24 milestones and reforms included in this package, Spain will be the only country to receive it and will have achieved more than half of the direct transfers provided for in the recovery plan. Although Feijóo tried to exonerate the community executive, which closely monitors the reforms, the head of the opposition assured that “the Commission is going to find itself with five years of populism.”

After these words, Feijóo met with the Commissioner for the Economy, Paolo Gentiloni, who asked him for a “constructive” opposition after the PP leader called the pension reform endorsed by Brussels and negotiated with the department he pilots a “patch”. the Italian socialist. In fact, Feijóo gave as an example the reform that has set the streets of France on fire in front of the pension reform. Gentiloni also applauded the “pioneering” management of the recovery plan by Spain.