ESM is creating tension, focus on Recovery Fund – Di Maio

(ANSA) – ROME, SEP 18 – Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio said
the government should forget about applying for funding from the
European Stability Mechanism (ESM) because the issue is
generating friction and focus on the resources set to be made
available by the EU Recovery Fund.
The parties supporting Premier Giuseppe Conte’s government are
split over whether to take up the option to obtain around 36
billion euros in interest-free grants from the EU bailout fund
to invest in the health system.
The centre-left PD is in favour but Di Maio’s 5-Star Movement
(M5S) is against due to fears the money could come with strings
attached further down the line.
“We have obtained 209 billion euros (from the Recovery Fund),
part of which is in grants,” Di Maio said.
“Let’s work on spending that money well.
“We won that negotiation battle and now we are supposed to tell
the EU that the money is not enough and go and get more. But the
ESM money is not a gift, it is still a debt you have to repay.
“If we feed the debate about the ESM, we do nothing but create
tension within the ruling majority”. (ANSA).