just 26 billion spread in four years – Libero Quotidiano


Fausto Carioti

Cleared the field of propaganda and effective English names (the last one is the “Next generation” program, which Ursula von der Leyen has borrowed from the TV series Star Trek), the question of EU aid to Italy and others Countries ruined by the epidemic is simple, summarized in a few numbers. The European Parliament, two weeks ago, asked the Commission and the States to launch a € 2,000 billion post-Covid recovery fund. The same figure the Italian government was aiming for, as announced by a bold Luigi Di Maio: “We are working on an agreement that is worth between 1,500 and 2,000 billion”. The PD Paolo Gentiloni, EU commissioner for economic affairs, estimated the necessary disbursement at “at least 1,000 billion”, provided that that money was available from the “next months”. Yesterday, the President of the European Commission dropped even further: € 750 billion, of which € 500 billion as allegedly lost aid and € 250 billion as loans. A sum hitherto previously considered largely insufficient, but which was enough to unleash the enthusiasm in the majority. For Gentiloni it is “a historical fact”,

Di Maio and the grillini are already thinking about how to spend that money and Giuseppe Conte says it is “an adequate figure”. While not giving anything to Matteo Salvini, the evidence is also denied. Silvio Berlusconi is also talking about “good news from Europe”, and it will soon be seen if this will change the attitude of Forza Italia in parliament. Those 750 billion, however, are not a certainty, but the maximum that can be sprouted: the operation must in fact be approved unanimously by individual states, which means that each of the countries of northern Europe will have the right of veto. The Netherlands immediately made it known that the final result cannot be that proposed by von der Leyen, and Denmark and Austria think the same way. The risk is that the conquibus will drop further, reaching the 500 billion hypothesized by Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron. Certainly, in the meantime, there is an extension of time: the German chancellor herself, committed to acting as a bridge between the indebted people of the South and the “frugal” ones of the North, yesterday warned that “the negotiations will be difficult and will not be closed to the next European Council in June ». We will have to wait, therefore, to understand how the game will end. In any case, the money will not arrive before January 2021, when the program will officially begin, and this increases the risk that the Conte government, after the summer, will be forced to make cash in some other way, and it is easy to imagine which one.

Those who praise European generosity emphasize that Italy is indicated as the main beneficiary of those 750 billion. If the Commission’s proposal were to pass as it is, our country would obtain non-repayable appropriations for 81.8 billion and loans for 90.9 billion. In total it would be 172.7 billion, 23% of the total (after us Spain, to which 140 billion would go). It is news that, however, must be read together with the others. Meanwhile, that money will not all come together, but will be spread over four years: from 2021 to 2024. And their concession (were there any doubts?) Will be subject to conditions. The twenty folders published yesterday by von der Leyen abound in rhetoric and are poor in technical details, which in some cases are the most important thing. It says, however, that much of that money will have to be used for “investments and reforms that make the economies of the Member States stronger”, favoring “the investment challenges and needs related to green and digital transitions”. In short, the attempt to link the disbursement of funds to the development of the “green economy” and to the approval of the reforms dear to the EU is evident. Member States will present their plans, which will have to be part of the European project, and Brussels will monitor. “The Commission,” explains von der Leyen’s document to the European Parliament, “will offer broad technical support” to national governments, “to ensure that funds are used to the fullest.” It is not an offer of help, but a warning that what countries will do will be kept under strict control.

The European Commission will collect a large part of those 750 billion on the market, issuing its own securities (real Eurobonds, therefore). For the most indebted states, such as Italy, the advantage lies in the fact that the EU is considered more reliable and can obtain credit at lower interest rates. But who – like the grillini – hoped for “perpetual” bonds, never to be reimbursed in exchange for a small annual interest, was disappointed: the entire sum will have to be compensated after 2027 and no later than 2058. And the debt and the deficit of individual states will weigh down. The real advantage of Italy, in addition to the lighter interest rate, will be the difference between how much it will receive and how much it will have to put in the common fund to finance the project. From the first calculations, it appears that our country would contribute approximately 26 billion less than it would receive in cash: a sum that spread over four years would be worth very little. The compensation to be paid would also include the introduction of a new tax on non-recyclable plastic, requested by von der Leyen to replenish the Brussels coffers. Introduced and then sent back to Italy so as not to sink the industries of the sector, it would return as a EU tax when our businesses are doing worse: a mockery in a mockery.

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