Sicily is desperate for the EU’s cash

SEBASTIANO (“NELLO”) MUSUMECI, the governor of Sicily, counts off on his fingers some of the many things he says his island lacks: a hub-port to tap into the goods traffic that flows from the Suez Canal into the Mediterranean; an international airport (“Malta, smaller than the smallest Sicilian province, has one,” he notes indignantly); a modern rail system (large stretches of the existing network are either single-track or unelectrified, or both); and a motorway that fully encircles the triangular island (there is a long gap on one side). “Then there is all the social infrastructure we lack,” he goes on. Top of that list is a shortage of nursery schools.

Europe’s efforts to recover from covid-19 focus on poorer regions like Sicily. One of the aims of its €750bn recovery fund, currently blocked by Poland and Hungary (see article) but due to come on stream next year, is to “level up” the EU. The Italian government will soon spell out to the European Commission how it wants to spend its share of the loans and grants on offer—more than a quarter of the total, says the prime minister, Giuseppe Conte. Last month, Sicily’s regional government sent Rome a list of schemes it hopes will qualify for funding. But…

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