The European recovery plan at the heart of the Italian legislative elections – EURACTIV.com

Giorgia Meloni, a far-right candidate and favorite in the upcoming Italian elections, has promised voters that she will modify the country’s recently approved European recovery plan. If successful, she would use the money to reduce consumers’ energy bills. The EU grinds its teeth.

Soaring energy prices and Italy’s stimulus package have taken center stage in the country’s legislative election campaign.

Italy is eligible for more than €200 billion in soft loans and grants under the €800 billion recovery fund adopted by the EU in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The conservative electoral coalition led by far-right MP Giorgia Meloni said in its electoral program that it would seek to modify the recovery plan in the event of victory, in order to reduce the energy bill of Italians.

“It cannot be heresy to say that the National Recovery Plan cannot be perfected: it is provided for by the rule”said Mrs Meloni, leader of the Fratelli d’Italia (“Brothers of Italy”), September 5.

Enrico Letta, leader of the center-left Democratic Party, however, does not seem to share the same opinion on the modification of the recovery plan.

The national recovery plan “can be discussed, but we say ‘no’ to renegotiations. If we enter into a confrontation with Brussels, we take the risk of losing money and future prospects”did he declare.

Brussels has also hinted that the plans could be “modified” to better align with the goal of moving away from Russian gas. But changing the main principles of the plan in order to offset household energy bills was not acceptable.

The simplified Regulation Facility for Recovery and Resilience (FRR) is at the heart of the European Commission’s plan to deal with the energy crisis, known as REPowerEU, a Commission spokesperson has told EURACTIV Italy. .

The EU funds available under this initiative aim to “support coordinated planning and financing of cross-border and national infrastructure as well as energy projects and reforms”, said the spokesperson. He added that €225 billion is already available in loans under the FRR and can be used to help member states meet energy transition targets.

The spokesperson also indicated that European officials have therefore proposed targeted changes to the FRR rules to incorporate certain REPowerEU objectives, which member states can add to their recovery and resilience plans. (PRR) existing.

“The Commission has also published guidance for Member States on how to amend and supplement their PRRs with chapters dedicated to REPowerEU”noted the spokesperson.

The Commission proposal is currently being examined by the European Parliament and the Council. A European source said she would be “more than certainly” approved.

Money for reforms, not for bills

The EU spokesperson explained that the measures of the REPowerEU plan aim to achieve energy savings, diversify energy supplies and accelerate the deployment of renewable energies to replace fossil fuels in homes, industry and electricity generation.

However, another European source clarified that the readjustment of the recovery plan to the REPowerEU strategy will in no way mean that this money can be used to help offset energy bills.

The source insisted that these are European funds aimed at developing infrastructure and helping Europe to accelerate the ecological transition, with the ultimate aim of minimizing dependence on fossil fuels and Russia.

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