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Italy gets first payment from EU’s Covid recovery fund

€30.9bn research, innovation and education component will support infrastructures, ecosystems and partnerships

The EU has sent Italy the first €24.9 billion of its €191.5bn share of the bloc’s Covid-19 recovery fund, to support investment and reforms in areas including research, innovation and education.

Sent on 13 August, the payment is 13 per cent of Italy’s total share from the €750bn fund—the maximum a country can get before hitting targets agreed with the European Commission and other EU countries.

In total, Italy is due to get €122.6bn in loans and €68.9bn in grants for activities to be implemented up to 2026, after its national plan for the money was signed off last month.

The Italian government has allocated €30.9bn to research and education, with research getting roughly €11.4bn and education €19.4bn.

Within the research plans, it will use about €1.6bn for a fund for research and innovation infrastructures and €1.3bn to set up and strengthen “innovation ecosystems for sustainability” and “territorial leaders of R&D”.

Partnerships involving universities, research centres and companies and funding for basic research projects will get a total of €966 million, while €720m will go on creating “national R&D leaders” for selected technologies.

Paolo Gentiloni, the EU economy commissioner, said the measures in Italy’s plan for reforms and investments in areas including renewable energy and digitalisation “will modernise the country and create new opportunities”.

Italy is the fifth country to have received its first payment from the fund.