The reform of the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) bailout fund needs to be ratified by all member states, European Parliament (EP) President Roberta Metsola said today during an ANSA forum in Rome.
The ESM is “a mechanism that needs to be ratified by all countries” said Metsola amid indications that the government is deeply divided over the ratification currently before parliament. Economy Minister Giancarlo Giorgetti is broadly in favour of ratification but his League party and its right-wing Brothers of Italy (FdI) ally are against backing a mechanism they say might pose financial threats to Italy.
Premier Giorgia Meloni has said the EU should unlock ESM funds for “other initiatives” so it becomes a vehicle for growth.
The reform is also controversial in Italy over fears it could reduce the nation’s sovereignty on budget issues.
NRRP should help all, including Italians
On the massive EU-funded post-Covid National Recovery and Resilience Plan (NRRP), Metsola told ANSA it is “a programme that should help all companies and all citizens of Europe, including Italian ones”.
“We will treat all countries in the same way,” she added.
Italy is still waiting to receive the delayed third instalment of EU funding worth €19billion for the NRRP. That money is earmarked to support ecological transition and technological innovation. The delay is due to concerns the project has got bogged down in delays.
So far, Italy has received a total of nearly €67billion in funding, much of which has taken the form of loans.
Payments are made by the EU on condition that agreed targets have been met. The final deadline for completing the project is 2026.
Salvini says no to ESM
Deputy Premier and Transport and Infrastructure Minister Matteo Salvini reiterated his opposition to ratification of the reform of the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) bailout fund. He says it is preferable to keep public debt in Italian hands.
“Italy is the European country that is growing the most thanks to our entrepreneurs, our workers,” said Salvini.
“I do not think there is a need to put ourselves in the hands of foreign funds and foreign subjects,” he added. He cited the fact that earlier this month “600,000 Italians” subscribed to a new treasury bond for small investors, to a value of over €18 billion.
“So I prefer for Italian infrastructure, Italian schools to be built by asking Italians for money. In this way the debt remains Italian,” said Salvini.
Italy is the only country not to have ratified the reform of the ESM. The government is concerned it could reduce the nation’s sovereignty on budget issues and calls for the bailout fund also to be used as a vehicle of growth.
The reform is currently before parliament.