ROME (Reuters) -Italy is confident of achieving all the targets required of it this year to obtain financing from the European Union's post-pandemic recovery fund, Economy Minister Giancarlo Giorgetti said on Friday.
The government has so far secured almost 67 billion euros ($70.6 billion) of the roughly 200 billion euros of EU funds it is due through 2026.
It is eligible for a further 19 billion euros at the end of this year, provided it can complete the 55 targets and milestones set for the second half of 2022, but some ministers have recently warned it will be hard to hit all the reform and spending deadlines.
Sky-rocketing raw material costs are triggering delays in multiple projects funded by EU's post-COVID funds, they said.
"These days we are working hard to meet the 55 targets for the second half of 2022, to be able to submit the third payment request to Brussels by the end of December", Giorgetti said during an event in Rome.
"We are already well on track, and we will definitely reach this goal as well," Giorgetti said.
The EU's Economy Commissioner Paolo Gentiloni urged Rome on Thursday to stick to the Recovery Fund deadlines.
To help construction firms working on public projects cope with extra costs, Italy has set aside 12 billion euros over the period 2023-2027, Giorgetti told parliament on Friday in testimony on Rome's 2023 budget.
($1 = 0.9490 euros)
(Reporting by Giuseppe Fonte, writing by Gianluca Semeraro, editing by Federico Maccioni and Gavin Jones)