The European Commission has approved the modification of three EU Cohesion policy operational programmes (OP) in Italy mobilising almost €1.7 billion of the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). These amendments, which concern two national programmes, namely ‘Enterprises and Competitiveness’ and ‘Infrastructures and Networks’ and Piedmont regional programme, will release EU funds in fighting the effects of the coronavirus pandemic contributing to the country’s recovery. Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms, Elisa Ferreira, said: “Thanks to these amendments, Italy can continue to benefit from the innovative supporting measures offered by the Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative. Ensuring high-quality of life for citizens and protecting the most vulnerable sectors of society and economy is the Commission’s priority.” Along with the support of the health system of the Piedmont region, most part of funding in the three programmes will be made available for the working capital of local small and medium businesses, mainly through guarantees on loans via the National Guarantee Fund. The modifications of these OPs will also increase temporarily the co-financing rate to 100% for eligible actions, thus helping beneficiaries overcome liquidity scarcity in the implementation of their projects. Modifying the programmes is possible thanks to the exceptional flexibility provided under the Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative (CRII) and Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative Plus (CRII+), which allows Member States to use Cohesion policy funding to support the sectors most exposed sectors to the pandemic.
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