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Tajani says Italy still not paying bills to business

Average of 200 days for government to send in its payments

01 April, 11:42
Tajani says Italy still not paying bills to business (ANSA) - Rome, April 1 - Despite promises to repay billions of euros in outstanding government debt to business, Italy is still not making much progress, European Commission Vice-President Antonio Tajani said Tuesday. Italian Premier Matteo Renzi said in late February that repaying as much as 68 billion euros in the government's longstanding debt to firms to help revive the economy was a top priority for his new administration, and said payments should be made by July.

However, not enough has been done as yet, Tajani said in an interview with Radio Uno.

"Unfortunately, the situation is not improving," he said.

"(Monday) I met with a delegation of entrepreneurs, who gave me documentation which clearly shows how, throughout Italy, the phenomenon of delay in payment of public administration debts is widespread and worrying," added Tajani.

He recently warned that the European Union could open two infraction procedures against Italy over its repayment of government debt to firms.

Tajani said the Italian government had been unclear on whether it was implementing EU directives correctly in a letter sent to Brussels on March 10 after the European Commission had asked for information over its delay in paying off public administration debts.

The Italian government is one of the slowest in Europe to pay businesses for debt incurred, with an average of 200 days for payments and in some cases, stretching to 1,300 days, or more than three years, said Tajani.

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