The European Commission started the procedure against Italy for PA late payments

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Tajani: “the worst payor of the EU.” Two months to react and try to close the file

The European Commission opened an infringement procedure against Italy for its Public Authorities late payments to enterprises. After uncountable warnings, the Commissioner of the EU for Industry, Antonio Tajani, had no choice but proposing the opening of an urgent procedure against our country, approved by the Commission then. Now Italy has two months to react to this warning: if information received by Member States is regarded as sufficient, the Commission may close the proceeding, otherwise it may proceed with the usual process. “Italy is clearly in breach of the Late Payments Directive” according to which enterprises should be paid within 30 days or 60 days in exceptional circumstances. Italian Public Authorities take on average 180 days to make payments, making our country “the worst payor of the European Union,” lamented Tajani. Italy “should drastically intervene to answer the problem with a structural solution,” he added. Currently, Italy paid only a third of the almost ninety billion euro it owes to enterprises, with seventy-five billion euro still to be paid. A serious issue, given that “the first effect of late payments is employees lay-offs.”

Tajani added that “this is not an action against the Renzi government, it is against Italy,” even though he had to admit that the measures included into the Legislative Decree 66/2014 (the so-called ‘Irpef [Personal Income Tax] decree’) prepared by the current Italian government “are regarded as insufficient” as reaction to the warning already received in the reasoned opinion. The outgoing Commissioner has then pointed out two actions Italy should make, in addition to payments: a review of the Internal Stability Pact and the reconstitution of the Ministries of Treasury and Finances to replace the current Ministry of Economy. The Internal Stability Pact “is illegitimate, up to me, being in breach of EU norms,” said Tajani. The first in fact allows Public Authorities to postpone payments, while the latter said payments have to be made within 30/60 days, “and national laws cannot prevail on European ones.” Referring to the Economy Ministry, “I’ve always had the same problem with all the governments: this department tends not to pay, and I cannot see why,” said Tajani. This is why “I think it should be split, with a Ministry for revenues and one for expenditure.”



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