(Source: European Commission)
The European Commission has endorsed today a positive preliminary assessment of Italy’s payment request for €21 billion, of which €10 billion of grants and €11 billion of loans under the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF), the key instrument at the heart of NextGenerationEU.
On 30 December 2021, Italy submitted to the Commission a payment request based on the 51 milestones and targets selected in the Council Implementing Decision for the first instalment. They cover reforms in the areas of public administration, public procurement, justice, the spending review framework, tertiary education, active labour market policies and the framework law to strengthen the autonomy of people with disabilities, as well as Italy’s audit and control system for the implementation of the RRF. They also concern major investments in the field of digitalisation of businesses (“Transition 4.0”), energy efficiency and renovation of residential buildings.
The milestones and targets fulfilled demonstrate significant progress made in the implementation of Italy’s recovery and resilience plan and its broad reform agenda. The reform of the civil and criminal justice and of the insolvency framework, the increase in administrative capacity and the simplification of the public procurement system will contribute to enhance the business environment and the effectiveness of public administration. The adoption of the Worker Employability Guarantee (GOL) and the National plan for New Skills, as well as the provision of support to women’s entrepreneurship, are expected to contribute to the efficiency and fairness of the labour markets. The milestones and targets also confirm progress towards the completion of investment projects related to digitisation of businesses, and the support to SMEs.
With their request, the Italian authorities provided detailed and comprehensive evidence demonstrating the satisfactory fulfilment of the 51 milestones and targets. The Commission thoroughly assessed this information before presenting its positive preliminary assessment of the payment request.
The Italian recovery and resilience plan includes a wide range of investments and reforms in six thematic areas (the so-called “Missions”). The overall plan is worth €191.5 billion: €68.9 billion in grants and €122.6 billion in loans, 13% of which (€9 billion in grants and €15.9 billion in loans) was disbursed to Italy in pre-financing on 13 August 2021.
Payments under the RRF are performance-based and contingent on Member States implementing the investments and reforms outlined in their respective recovery and resilience plans.
The Commission has now sent its positive preliminary assessment of Italy’s fulfilment of the milestones and targets required for this payment to the Economic and Financial Committee (EFC), asking for its opinion. The EFC’s opinion, to be delivered within a maximum of four weeks, should be taken into account in the Commission’s assessment. Following the EFC’s opinion, the Commission will adopt the final decision on the disbursement of the financial contribution, in accordance with the examination procedure, through a comitology committee. Following the adoption of that decision, the disbursement to Italy would take place.
The Commission will assess further payment requests by Italy based on the fulfilment of the subsequent milestones and targets outlined in the Council Implementing Decision, reflecting progress on the implementation of the investments and reforms.
The amounts disbursed to the Member States are published in the Recovery and Resilience Scoreboard, which shows progress of the implementation of the national recovery and resilience plans.
Members of the College said
President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen said: “Today, we announce an important step ahead in the implementation of the Italian Recovery Plan. We consider that Italy has made good progress to receive its first payment under NextGenerationEU. So, as soon as this is also approved by Member States, Italy will receive €21 billion. The country, which is the largest beneficiary of NextGenerationEU, has undertaken important reforms in public administration, public procurement, civil and criminal justice, as well as in the field of digitalisation of businesses. We will continue to support Italy in its ambitious recovery path.”
Valdis Dombrovskis, Executive Vice-President for An Economy that Works for People said: “Congratulations to Italy for achieving the first 51 milestones and targets set out in its national recovery plan. With the RRP, Italy has a unique chance to fulfil its potential to regain its status as an economic powerhouse. We welcome the progress of these initial reforms, which will help to improve Italy’s business environment, make its public administration more efficient and strengthen the overall resilience of its economy. For the green transition, Italy has moved to reform its water resources management and speed up transport infrastructure projects, among others. At the same time, it has invested in digitalising its business and tourism sectors. Once the Commission’s assessment is reviewed by Member States, Italy should be set to receive €21 billion in grants and loans to press ahead with its plan to achieve stronger, more inclusive and sustainable growth for years to come. Going forward, it will be essential to keep up this positive momentum by implementing reforms.”
Paolo Gentiloni, Commissioner for Economy, said: “The RRP represents a once-in-a-generation opportunity for Italy to build a more competitive and sustainable economy and a fairer society. Our positive preliminary assessment shows that the implementation of the plan is on track. The important measures undertaken in this initial phase include first steps in the reform of the justice system and public procurement, the adoption of the Worker Employability Guarantee and the National Plan for New Skills, as well as numerous reforms and investments that will drive forward the green transition. Once the relevant procedures are finalised we will be able to move ahead with the payment of €21 billion, helping to support Italy’s strong economic recovery in these uncertain times. Looking beyond this important moment, continued effective implementation of the RRP will be essential: 100 milestones and targets are due to be achieved in 2022, linked to payments amounting to €40bn. Fulfilling these commitments is key to delivering the structural change needed to shift the Italian economy onto a path of strong and durable growth.”