PNRR Funds for the Stadium at Tessera: European Commission Has Begun its Audit

The European Commission is auditing the appropriateness of the investments, the correlation between private and public interests and the impact on the environment the Bosco dello Sport

By Mitia Chiarin

22 March 2023

The project for a stadium and sports arena at Tessera, rebaptized the “Bosco dello Sport”, is being examined by the European Commission, which is evaluating the Italian projects requesting financing from the National Recovery and Resilience plan.

An investigation into Pnrr funds, adding to Commissioner Gentiloni’s concern over Italy’s delay in applying for a Plan which is, as is well known, marked by strict controls and roadmaps. The recent report by La Stampa shows that the project so dear to the Brugnaro administration is under the lens of EU audits.

There are various aspects currently under audit: first and foremost the possible private interests in facilities that would be financed by the PNRR and funds from the Municipality of Venice. Management of the facilities will be handed over to private companies, and the link between the sports arena and Reyer, the basketball team so dear to the Mayor, is obvious.

The EC is also examining observations such as those made by Italia Nostra Venezia, which has pointed out that the land where the arena and stadium are to be built is not a decaying urban area but rather an agricultural zone, and therefore not in line with the purposes of the National Plan and its requirements: that is, that no significant damage is caused to the environment.

Is this project really needed? The EU experts will have a decisive word, because the European funding is at stake. In recent days the careful examination of the project was also confirmed by the staff of Ursula Von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, who responded to the letter sent by city councilor Giovanni Andrea Martini.

The president’s staff reported that the project is relevant for the metropolitan investment, which includes other facilities and interventions requested by Municipalities, financed with Mission 5 – component 2 – of the Italian Pnrr, and “it is currently being assessed by the Commission”, as part of the evaluation of the third part of the requested payments. “Our services are carefully analyzing that all the requirements in the RRP Council Implementing Decision are fulfilled, including respect of the DNSH principle,” the offices write. DNSHis the acronym of the English Do No Significant Harm (to the environment).

“We are well aware of the features of the project ‘Bosco dello Sport’, about which the authorities have shared ample relevant documentation and that we are thoroughly assessing.”

So, the Bosco dello Sport is being closely examined by Europe. But also back at home. As councilor Marco Gasparinetti of Terra e Acqua has pointed out, the costs have risen. 308 million will be spent for the stadium and arena due to cost increases for materials.

This figure is confirmed by Budget Councilor Michele Zuin who took care to reiterate that the Italian State will cover the project’s 24.5 million cost increase. However, the councilor remains concerned, because – he recalled – this coverage, set up by the Draghi government, is meant for projects financed by the PNRR. So, what will happen if the funds don’t arrive?

Meanwhile, at this hour municipal offices are proceeding with formalization of an agreement with the bank Cassa Depositi e Prestiti for a flexible loan of 44.5 million euros (3-year pre-amortization until December 2026 and 26-year amortization until 2052, with 52 installments half-yearly) to help fund the completion of the work.

Source: La Nuova di Venezia e Mestre

[A copy of the letter from President Von der Leyen follows below.]

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