Italy links EU funding to rule of law

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Brussels, March 22 (IANS/AKI) As the European Union discusses its next longterm budget from 2021 onwards amid Britain’s exit from the bloc, it should consider a link between the funds it gives out and respect for law and order, Italy’s Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano said on Thursday.

“We need to reflect on the connection between the funds disbursed and respect for the rule of law,” Alfano said in a written statement issued on the sidelines of a meeting in the Belgian capital with the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier.

“The EU’s next budget should put citizens at its centre and allow the funding of European public goods, from the management of migration to growth and innovation, keeping as high priorities the Common Agricultural Policy and the safeguarding of Europe’s landscape and cultural heritage,” he said.

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The EU should also prioritise structural funds to support the its lesser developed regions despite the multi-billion euro hole in its budget left by Britain’s departure (in March 2019), Alfano said.

“There will be an 11 billion euro shortfall – Britain’s annual contribution – and this will make it more difficult to reach what has to be a unanimous agreement,” he noted.

–IANS/AKI

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