EU's Gentiloni urges Italy to stick to recovery fund deadlines and targets

FILE PHOTO: European Economic Commissioner Paolo Gentiloni addresses a news conference on the EU Commission forecasts for economic growth, inflation, unemployment, debt and deficits for the 27 EU countries for 2023 and 2024, in Brussels, Belgium November 11, 2022. REUTERS/Johanna Geron

MILAN (Reuters) - Italy should focus on meeting all deadlines for the EU’s post-pandemic recovery fund, the bloc’s Economy Commissioner Paolo Gentiloni warned on Thursday.

Gentiloni was speaking in Rome, where some government ministers have said that Italy is struggling to meet reform and spending targets tied to the multi-billion-euro fund.

“I am aware of the difficulties, if there are delays they must be tackled. I think the main commitment of any European government today is to try and meet deadlines, targets,” Gentiloni said at a conference.

Italy is the single largest recipient of the EU’s post-pandemic recovery fund, standing to receive roughly 200 billion euros through 2026.

Access to the funds, however, is tied to so-called “milestones and targets”, which Rome’s new right-wing administration is worried about missing.

Reporting by Federico Maccioni, writing by Claudia Cristoferi, editing Alvise Armellini