M. Buti, M. Messori – Next Generation-EU: Italy must not miss this opportunity
As is widely recognized, the agreement reached at the 17-21 July 2020 European Council meeting can represent a milestone in the European integration process. The Heads of State and Government have kept the framework proposed by the European Commission at the end of May 2020 to respond to the pandemic crisis (that is, Next Generation EU – NG-EU – and, in particular, the Recovery and Resilience Facility – RRF) substantially unchanged. At the same European Council meeting, however, some reductions were made to the funding dedicated to the traditional European Multiannual Financial Framework programs and to other specific NG-EU programs. The ambitious support provided to countries for a robust recovery after the pandemic emergency will thus decrease the resources allocated to European 'public goods' and, therefore, those not attributed ex ante to the member states of the European Union (EU).
This support remains an extraordinary opportunity, but its actual implementation will depend on the extent and the way in which member states will be able to use the resources made available by the EU to profoundly reform their national economies and the European economy as a whole. With potential access to 209 billion euro in transfers or loans, Italy is one of the largest beneficiaries of these new European funds. Italy, therefore, has a crucial role to play. It is no exaggeration to stress that the success or failure of NG-EU and the RRF will depend, to a large extent, on the choices that the Italian government and parliament make in the coming weeks. In particular, in order to lay the foundations for an effective and efficient use of the earmarked resources, three tasks should be carried out during the summer of 2020.