On November 30th, 2022, more than 60 Italian civil society entities (here is the full list, updated daily) representing citizens, associations, groups, movements, universities, and research centers, sent an open letter to the Prime Minister, Giorgia Meloni, and to the Minister for the European Affairs, Cohesion Policies and the RRF, Raffaele Fitto, denouncing the serious delay in making available the data that are essential for monitoring the progress of the National Recovery and Resilience Plan. The campaign is called “Italy Tomorrow, Data Today”, inspired by the name of the government website ItaliaDomani (“Italy for Tomorrow”).
Monithon has been advocating for years for better data on the planning and implementation of EU funding, including, more recently, on the Recovery and Resilience facility. Detailed and high-quality data are essential for allowing citizens to increase awareness of the use of public funding and collect new information on the individual projects funded through interviews or questionnaires. Have a look at our civic monitoring reports in Italy and other EU Countries.
According to Italian civil society, information on the National Recovery and Resilience Plan and its management remains scarce and inadequate. The national government website ItaliaDomani does not yet contain information on the funds actually spent. A the moment, only 4 tender procedures and around 5,000 projects are listed. This data is updated to May 2022 and concerns only 1 billion euros.
In short, there is no single and easily accessible place in which to find what projects are funded, where, and how they are progressing.
The following is the complete text of the open letter (here is the original Italian version, which we have translated into English – sorry for any inaccuracies).
Civil society asks for transparency on the Recovery Plan with a letter to the Prime Minister
Despite the continuous promises from the Government and Parliament, information on the National Recovery and Resilience Plan and its management is still very scarce and inadequate. For citizens, associations, groups, movements, universities, and research centers it is not yet possible to monitor the progress of a project and assess its impact.
The budget law for 2021 committed the Government to detect the financial, physical, and procedural implementation data relating to each project of the PNRR and to make them available in an open format, but there is still very little evidence of all this. Currently, published data do not show the state of implementation, or provide any evidence of the impact at the local level.
In the open data catalog ItaliaDomani, the national portal of the PNRR launched by the Government in August 2021 has the goal of allowing citizens to monitor the implementation of the plan and the progress of each investment. However, at the moment there is no available information on the funds actually spent.
According to the second report to Parliament on the state of implementation of the Plan, sent to the Italian Parliament on October 6th, 73,000 projects should have been uploaded to the REGIS system, a national information system for the monitoring of the Plan. However, in the ItaliaDomani portal we can only find:
- Only about 5,000 projects
- Information updated to May 2022, concerning only one billion euros
- Information on only four tender procedures.
Furthermore, there is no single and easily accessible place where it is possible to access project documents or files, which is essential to understand the projects’ goals and context.
Therefore, citizens cannot find out what interventions will be carried out in their neighborhoods and which will have an impact on their lives. They cannot know anything about the progress of these interventions as well, including the Plan as a whole, which is the sum of the individual projects. They will therefore have no way of forming an opinion and of influencing fundamental choices for the country, for the most part financed with funds borrowed from the European Union.
Obtaining this information, which is essential for citizens to be able to fully exercise their role of control over the work of the public administration, has so far been delegated to the ability or goodwill of individual local administrations, resulting in unequal access to information in different areas of our Country.
As if that were not enough, the absence of information and data accessible to citizens seems to reflect a general lack of reliable data and information also for the decision-makers themselves, who have a duty to guarantee the correct implementation of the plan and to report on it.
The data allowing public administrations to check the actual status of the Plan’s implementation are not yet available, more than a year after the launch of the Plan. On what basis the Government can evaluate the state of implementation of the Plan and assess the impact of investments?
For some time, civil society organizations have been calling for a greater and constant commitment to ensuring transparency in the implementation of the National Recovery and Resilience Plan. Most of these requests have so far gone unheeded.
We therefore ask the new Government for a concrete commitment to publish:
- All relevant data relating to RRF projects, in an open format and timely fashion
- Relevant documents and project files for each project funded, following the example of the National Database of Public Contracts or the National Registry of Unfinished Works
- A quarterly report on the Recovery Plan, with tenders and notices, milestones and targets, approval and progress status (using the example of the data available on the OpenCoesione portal). In particular, a) milestones and targets, b) individual projects (status of approval and subsequent progress), c) calls for tenders and notices
- Detailed information on the monitoring indicators relating to the three transversal priorities, i.e. reduction of gender, generational and territorial gaps.
The RRF represents an unprecedented opportunity and a challenge for our Country, which involves a substantial commitment and enormous responsibility, considering that a large portion of the funds involves public debt that will concern our generation and future ones. This challenge needs all parties are fully involved, starting with citizens. Transparency and availability of data are the conditions for guaranteeing citizens the possibility of promoting debate and carrying out civic monitoring actions, as well as intervening to avoid waste of public money and wrong public decisions.
#ItaliaDomaniDatiOggi. “Italy Tomorrow, Data Today”. We can’t wait any longer.