Italy’s right-wing favorites see room to revamp national recovery plan

By Angelo Amante and Giuseppe Fonte

ROME (Reuters) – Italy’s Brothers party, in pole position for next month’s election, sees the possibility of revamping parts of a European Union-funded investment program to help the economy make in the face of the energy crisis and soaring costs, a party official said on Monday. .

The resignation of Prime Minister Mario Draghi paved the way for a snap election on September 25, with polls suggesting Italy’s far-right Brotherhood-led conservative alliance is well placed to win a parliamentary majority.

Italy is eligible to receive more than 200 billion euros ($205.40 billion) in cheap loans and grants from the fund set up to help the bloc’s 27 countries recover from the COVID pandemic -19.

The outgoing government has so far secured nearly 67 billion euros in EU funds. Rome now needs to hit 55 new targets in the second half of 2022 to tap into an additional 19 billion euros this year, but targets need to be adjusted to new challenges, said Raffaele Fitto, co-chair of the European Conservatives and Reformists – Brothers of Italy Group at the European Parliament.

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“The war in Ukraine presented us with different goals and priorities than existed when the plan was written” in early 2021, Fitto said in written comments to Reuters.

He said EU rules allow members to change their national plans if certain milestones and targets are no longer achievable.

Fitto said the national plan must take into account rising energy prices and rising material costs, which are making it difficult for construction companies to work on public projects.

“We don’t want to throw away the current plan but (…) make it more efficient and more suitable to ensure structural growth,” he said.

Another source close to the Brotherhood in Italy, who requested anonymity, said the party would not put “any money” from the EU at risk.

The Draghi government had ruled out renegotiating the national recovery plan and had planned in May some 10 billion euros until 2026 to deal with the soaring costs of raw materials.

(Editing by Tomasz Janowski)

Copyright 2022 Thomson Reuters.

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