Meloni’s party won’t jeopardize Italian recovery plan funds

MILAN (Reuters) – The far-right Brothers of Italy party, leading in polls ahead of next month’s election, will not jeopardize Italy’s access to an EU-funded investment program European Union, said one of the party’s founders on Friday.

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

“I don’t think a centre-right party would think of giving up investing an amount of 2% of annual GDP for five years,” Guido Crosetto told La Repubblica daily in an interview, adding that he was expressing his point. of personal view and did not speak. as a party representative.

The party, led by Giorgia Meloni, does not have a “Euro-skeptical” opinion, he added, attributing its abstentions in the vote for the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (PNRR) to “excessive agitation”. on the different objectives.

A centre-right source told Reuters that the conservative alliance’s election manifesto, which has yet to be finalised, includes a pledge to use the funds Italy will receive from the European Union effectively.

Rome is eligible for more than 200 billion euros ($205 billion) in cheap loans and grants from the fund set up to help the bloc’s 27 countries recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Draghi’s government has so far secured nearly 67 billion euros in EU funds, but Rome now needs to hit 55 new targets in the second half of 2022 to tap another 19 billion euros this year.

Among other measures, the conservative parties would also propose a VAT exemption for goods deemed essential and a further reduction in the “tax wedge”, the difference between the salary an employer pays and what a worker brings home.

The manifesto should include a clear commitment to stay true to the NATO alliance and continue to support Ukraine.

Brothers of Italy have always supported the decision to ship weapons to Kyiv, while its League and Forza Italia allies have been far more ambivalent, reflecting their historically close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

When asked if the party was able to provide the political leaders needed to lead the country, Crosetto said that if there were competent officials within the party, he could also recruit “competent technocrats” from outside. at the party. ($1 = 0.9773 euros)

(Reporting by Federico Maccioni in Milan and Angelo Amante in Rome; Editing by Toby Chopra and Keith Weir)

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