Italy's premier Giuseppe Conte on Monday urged Poland and Hungary not to delay the EU''s 750 billion-euro stimulus package aimed at helping the bloc recover from the ravages of COVID-19 as it faces a severe hit from a second wave of the pandemic.
"There is a problem, a political veto by Poland and Hungary. This is the obstacle," Conte told the 'Otto e Mezzo' talk show.
"But a major sense of responsibility exists and I am confident that countries that have wielded their veto over the rule of law will re-assess their position. It is right that they should otherwise they'll hurt their own economies," Conte said.
Hungary and Poland are demanding that the recovery fund - of which Italy is set to receive 209 billion euros - should not be conditional on the rule of law. Both countries are under pressure from the EU to restore an independent judiciary and to take further measures to uphold democratic standards.
Conte also denied the government was late with its recovery plan.
"There are no delays and we will be discussing the plan in parliament in the coming days," Conte said.
The government was holding weekly "dialogue" with the European Commission to draw up the list of projects that will qualify for the EU funds, he said.
The 209 billion euros of EU grants and loans Italy is due to receive by 2023 will require the country to invest in priority areas like infrastructure, education, the green economy and digital technologies.
The government will set up a managerial structure based at the prime minister's office but which will coordinate with the ministries to ensure projects are implemented, according to Conte.
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