Italy gets first 24.9 bn of EU Recovery Fund cash

Payment 'launches a lasting recovery' says von der Leyen

(ANSA) - ROME, AUG 13 - The European Commission on Friday transferred 24.9 billion euros to Italy as the first tranche of the cash Rome is set to get from the NextGenerationEU COVID-19 recovery fund.
    Italy is set to be the biggest beneficiary of the 750-billion-euro programme, getting a total of 191.5 billion euros in grants and low-interest loans between now and 2026.
    Friday's tranche amounts to 13% of that total.
    "Today's first disbursement of funds under NextGenerationEU in Italy launches a lasting recovery in the country," said European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.
    "The EU stood in full solidarity with you throughout the crisis.
    We will stay by your side as brighter days are ahead.
    "Your recovery plan, Italia Domani, shows the level of ambition that is needed to make the country an engine for growth for the whole of Europe. Because a strong Europe needs a strong Italy." The 24.9 billion euros is made up of 8.957 billion euros in grants (13% of the total allocation of 68.9 billion in grants) and 15.937 billion euros in loans (13% of 122.6 billion).
    The remaining 87% will be transferred on the basis of the attainment of targets set out in Italy's National Recovery and Resilience Plan (NRRP).
    "Intense cooperation with Italy and solid preparation within the Commission allowed us to pay out the funds in record time," said Johannes Hahn, the Commissioner for Budget and Administration.
    "This shows that with the resources raised, we will be able to swiftly deliver on the pre-financing needs of all Member States, thus giving them the initial boost in implementing the numerous green and digital projects included in their national plans." Italy will spend around 248 billion to make the country greener and more modern as it recovers from its biggest peacetime recession as part of the NRRP, with most of the money coming from the EU.
    Reforms to cut red tape and speed up a snail-paced justice system will go hand in hand with the plan.
    "NextGenerationEU is a historic opportunity to invest in Italy's strength," said Economy Commissioner and former Italian premier Paolo Gentiloni.
    "Today's pre-financing is a first, concrete and tangible step to start the investments and reforms that Italy has undertaken to put forward: a greener and more sustainable mobility system, an increase in renewable energy, the digitalisation of businesses, the roll-out of 5G and ultra-broadband, a more effective public administration and a more attractive and competitive business environment.
    "All these measures and many others contained in Italy's plan will modernise the country and create new opportunities.
    "It is a once-in-a-lifetime chance for Italy to relaunch the economy and build a sustainable future for the next generations." (ANSA).


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