EU Blocks Funding for Stadiums in Venice and Florence. “They were not in the PNRR”

Nuyts, EU Commission spokesman: “The projects were not part of Italy’s first National Plan”. Minister Fitto will meet with Mayors Brugnaro and Nardella. Speranzon of FdI sees only politics: “Strange to find out only now when everything was ok six months ago”. Renzi: “A stadium should be built with private money”. Italia Nostra: “the project does not comply with principle ‘do not cause significant harm to natural environments’”

31 March 2023

By Angela Pederiva


The next summit between Minister Raffaele Fitto and Mayors Luigi Brugnaro and Dario Nardella about PNRR funds is on the agenda for next Tuesday. But when it comes to the future of the Bosco dello Sport at Venice, Veerle Nuyts, spokesman for the European Commission for Economic and Social Affairs has already dropped his clarification that the two integrated urban designs “were not part of Italy’s first National Plan for Recovery and Resilience”. Which is to say, having jumped on the EU train midway, now those projects must reckon with the risk of not finding a spot – that is losing 93.5 million (of 308) in the case of Venice and 55 (out of 200) in the case of Florence.

The Dates

The sequence of dates confirms the spokesman’s observation, at least for Venice. In fact, the official approval of the PNRR by Brussels, with many pictures of president Ursula von der Leyen together with then Prime Minister Mario Draghi, took place on 22 June 2021. The announcement from Ca’ Farsetti about the launch of the procedure to access the European funds instead happened on 23 March 2022, and so nine months later. In any case, Nuyts remarked that the preliminary investigation is still underway: “In the period of evaluating progress we don’t comment on specific measures. That we will do when we have evaluated all the reforms and the investments related to the request for payment”. He then noted the fact that the regeneration projects “must meet the criteria specified by the Plan, therefore they must be located in large areas of urban decay and must comply with social purposes”. This is what is being evaluated now, given that the related investments “are connected to the third payment request”.

The Politics

While visiting Venice, Minister Matteo Piantedosi related Brugnaro’s concern: “The activation of the various PNRR projects which the Municipalities are in charge of is under the supervision of the Minister of the Interior. Minister Fitto has been very active in the relations with the offices of the EU Commission and for all the elements that are problematic. The Mayor of Venice spoke to me about this intervention, and I will have a discussion with Fitto about Brugnaro’s hopes. We are working and we are confident of meeting the highest expectations of the regions”.

Raffaele Speranzon, a Venetian Senator from Fratelli d’Italia, has also been in contact with Minister Fitto regarding the evolution of the situation. “As far as we know – he said – we believe that the Draghi government operated correctly in the presentation of the dossier. However, if by chance errors have been made, they are surely not ascribable to the Meloni government, which finds itself managing an inherited project. I always say this in the hypothesis that these are technical details, albeit strangely brought out only now, while six months ago everything was ok. So perhaps it is worth asking if this isn’t a political issue instead. We see that the left, with deputy Luana Zanella, has a position that is absolutely contrary to these types of projects. And we know how much the left influences the European Commission. So, putting one and one together…”

The number cited by Italia Nostra in support of its appeal to the TAR are much different: “a paved, built-up area of 36.56 hectares on soil that is currently entirely agricultural”. “The project is contrary to the purposes of the Next Generation EU regulations, for which all the measures for the national Plans must satisfy the principle of “do not cause significant harm to natural environments”.

However, there is also controversy over the Florence project. Democrat Matteo Biffoni, Mayor of Prato and president of Anci Toscana, is defending his colleague Nardella: “Either since the beginning you say that this type of project can’t be done with PNRR funds or you create problems in the relations with those who gave the green light, or at least with those who did not say no in a timeframe appropriate for this type of project”.

Matteo Renzi, senator and leader of Italia Viva disagrees, though as the former Mayor of Florence he is a big fan of the local team: “Using PNRR funds for a stadium makes no sense. It would only be a gift to the Euro-sceptics in Holland and Germany who could say: why with our taxes do we have to pay for the Florence stadium? A stadium should be built with private money”.

Source: Il Gazzettino

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s