M. Messori – The “Next Generation-EU” breakthrough: Opportunities and risks for Italy
A recently published Policy Brief (see Buti and Messori 2020) examines the quantitative and qualitative aspects that characterize the proposal made by the European Commission on May 27, 2020 called "Next Generation - EU" (NG - EU). These aspects show that NG - EU represents a fundamental turning point in European economic governance as it strengthens the weight and the redistributive role of the European multiannual budget (MFF), provides for an enormous issue (750 billion euro) of long-term European debt bonds guaranteed by several MFFs (until 2058), and paves the way for the strengthening of 'own resources' as revenue for future MFFs. If approved by the European Council and the European Parliament, this proposal would strengthen the single market, support national convergence processes within the European Union (EU) and open a process of centralization of fiscal policies and taxation decisions that would lead - as an inevitable outcome – to some form of European federalism. In another recent Policy Brief, Bastasin (2020) offers stimulating arguments that reinforce these theses. In fact, the new centrality of the European budget and of 'own resources' would produce substantial changes in relations between the State, the market and the intermediate institutions at a transnational level.
The aim of the present paper is not to revisit and discuss such complex issues. Instead, it aims to show that especially the most fragile EU countries - and in particular Italy - must put themselves in a position to take advantage of the turning point represented by NG - EU. It is therefore necessary that these countries be ready to use, in effective and efficient ways, the resources that could be made available between 2021 and 2024 by the European Commission's initiative (500 billion euro in transfers, including guarantees, and 250 billion euro in loans). If this does not happen, it would become even more problematic to obtain assent for the current proposal of NG - EU from the European institutions that play a crucial role in its approval process.