The European Commission has today disbursed €24.9 billion to Italy in pre-financing, equivalent to 13% of the country’s grant and loan allocation under the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF). Italy is one of the first countries receiving a pre-financing payment under the RRF. The pre-financing will help to kick-start the implementation of the crucial investment and reform measures outlined in Italy’s recovery and resilience plan.
The Commission will authorise further disbursements based on the implementation of the investments and reforms outlined in Italy’s recovery and resilience plan. The country is set to receive €191.5 billion in total over the lifetime of its plan (€68.9 billion in grants and €122.6 billion in loans).
Today’s disbursement follows the recent successful implementation of the first borrowing operations under NextGenerationEU. By the end of the year, the Commission intends to raise up to a total of €80 billion in long-term funding, to be complemented by short-term EU-Bills, to fund the first planned disbursements to Member States under NextGenerationEU.
Part of NextGenerationEU, the RRF will provide €723.8 billion (in current prices) to support investments and reforms across Member States. The Italian plan is part of the unprecedented EU response to emerge stronger from the COVID-19 crisis, fostering the green and digital transitions and strengthening resilience and cohesion in our societies.
Supporting transformative investments and reform projects
The RRF in Italy finances investments and reforms that are expected to have a deeply transformative effect on Italy’s economy and society. Here are some of these projects:
Securing the green transition: with €32.1 billion, more regions will be integrated into the high-speed rail network and the rail freight corridors will be completed. It will also boost sustainable local transport through the extension of cycle lanes, metros, tramways and zero-emission buses, including the construction of electric charging stations across the country and hydrogen refuelling points for road and rail transport.
Supporting the digital transition: €13.4 billion will be invested in promoting the uptake of digital technologies by companies through a tax credit scheme aimed at supporting and accelerating their digital transformation.
Reinforcing economic and social resilience: €26 billion will go towards increasing the supply of childcare facilities, reforming the teaching profession, improving active labour market policies as well as women’s and youth participation in the labour market and reinforcing vocational training, investing in the apprenticeship system. Further €3.7 billion will go towards reforming and modernising public employment, strengthening administrative capacity, and reforming and digitalising civil and criminal courts to reduce the length of court proceedings. Further investments and reforms will strengthen the business environment by improving public procurement and local public services, reducing late payments, and removing barriers to competition.
Members of the College said:
President Ursula von der Leyen said: “Today’s first disbursement of funds under NextGenerationEU in Italy launches a lasting recovery in the country. 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.”
Johannes Hahn, Commissioner for Budget and Administration, said: “After three very successful bond issuances under NextGenerationEU over the past few weeks, and the first payments for other NGEU programmes, I am glad that we have now also reached the disbursement stage for the RRF. Intense cooperation with Italy and solid preparation within the Commission allowed us to pay out the funds in record time. 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.”
Paolo Gentiloni, Commissioner for Economy, said: “NextGenerationEU is a historic opportunity to invest in Italy’s strength. 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.”