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Thursday, June 8, 2023

Pnrr, what changes for buses and schools: Gentiloni’s advance on the Mes

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As European Affairs Minister Raffaele Fitto collects the letters with proposals from ministers on how to change the Pnrr, European Affairs Commissioner urges Italy: “The problem is not to denounce delays, but to prevent them,” says Paolo. Gentiloni said yesterday during a speech at the Trento Economics Festival. The third tranche of loans to Italy, 19 billion, has not yet been released by Brussels. Tensions are also weighing on the Mes, the reformed European fund to save states, which just awaits ratification by Rome to become operational. «In Italy I don’t know why the Mes is perceived as the Spectre. But this is not the case – says Gentiloni -. And no one thinks Italy should use it. My proposal is to proceed with ratification. It is a problem of reputation and respect for commitments».

The government seems to be in trouble

Going back to the Pnrr, Gentiloni is particularly concerned about the next installments of 2023, of 16 and 18 billion. The government seems to be in trouble. Fitto has already clarified that not all interventions in the Plan can be implemented by the end of 2026. Hence the request to government colleagues to negotiate with the committee on proposals to amend the Plan. A choice that fuels the attacks of the Pd, which asks the executive to report to parliament what changes it intends to make to the Pnrr.

Don’t lose funding from the Pnrr

The line that emerges from the letters sent to Fitto is that the funding envisaged by the Pnrr will not be lost (191.5 billion euros until 2026, of which 66.9 billion has already been raised, Gentiloni recalls), but the deferred investments to the Supplementary Fund and EU Cohesion Funds, which have a longer duration, with the funds recovered being used for construction projects left outside the plan. This is the case, for example, with investments in water pipes, reports Minister of Infrastructure Matteo Salvini. An intervention for which projects worth about a billion are ready, which would be recouped by transferring the construction of some railway lines to funds outside the Pnrr, which cannot be completed by 2026 (doubling of the Rome-Pescara and Orte-Falconara lines ).

Directions to Fitto

Salvini has not yet sent his indications to Fitto because the government has just replaced the heads of Trenitalia and Rfi, therefore a quick monitoring of the works in progress is needed to propose the necessary adjustments. The Ministry of Infrastructure is also in contact with the municipalities about local public transport, where the construction of garages for electric buses is experiencing delays. On the school front, another criticism from the Pnrr asks the Minister of Education, Giuseppe Valditara, to lower the targets currently set in the plan for school construction: as well as for kindergartens, canteens and building safety. The reduction, the minister argues, must be in proportion to the price increase in the public works sector. Essentially fewer things can be done with the same money because today it costs more than Pnrr estimates.

The ratings

The Minister of the Environment, Gilberto Pichetto Fratin, assures that no project within his remit will be eliminated. The viability of all of them will be assessed by 2026, with a view to shifting some to other sources of funding if necessary. The Minister of Labor, Maria Calderone, says that as far as she is concerned “there are no delays” and that “any corrections are not waivers but an optimization of some instruments”. The Minister of Enterprise, Adolfo Urso, is also on the same page.

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Source: Corriere

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