ECONOMY

Italy Hires McKinsey for EU Recovery Funds, Upsetting Lawmakers

A decision by the government of Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi to recruit consulting firm McKinsey & Co. for help with the European Union’s recovery package has prompted disquiet within his coalition.

The company will advise the finance ministry and help to accelerate the drafting of Italy’s plan to spend its 209 billion-euro ($250 billion) share of the EU windfall, the ministry said in a statement on Saturday. Governance will remain the responsibility of the ministry and other authorities, the statement added.

The newly appointed Draghi, former head of the European Central Bank, has until the end of April to submit Italy’s plan to the European Commission, with his government seeking to salvage an economy devastated by the coronavirus pandemic and regional and national lockdowns.

But the hiring of McKinsey, reported earlier Saturday by newspaper La Repubblica, sparked unease even within the ruling coalition. A representative for McKinsey could not be reached immediately outside normal working hours.

“We have to call the best people in the State, maybe the young, not delegate key tasks to private-sector outsiders,” ex-government minister Giuseppe Provenzano of the center-left Democratic Party said in a Twitter post.

Draghi was picked as premier by President Sergio Mattarella, and managed to forge a coalition that stretches across the political spectrum. But the main parties supporting him are plagued by infighting as they seek to reposition themselves under his rule.

Senator Antonio Misiani also of the Democrats, who served as deputy finance minister in the previous government of Giuseppe Conte, cited an assurance by Draghi to the upper house that the finance ministry and other ministries were responsible for the plan. “If the scheme has changed, it must be communicated and explained to Parliament,” Misiani said.

Lawmaker Francesco Silvestri of the Five Star Movement, the biggest force in parliament and a coalition member, said: “We demand transparency.”

Opposition leader Giorgia Meloni, of the far-right and nationalist Brothers of Italy party, struck a harsher tone.

“Is it possible that with all the ministers, deputy ministers, undersecretaries, heads of department, heads of legal offices, task forces, managers, technocrats and State employees that we have, the Draghi Government needs to entrust the drafting of the Recovery Plan to a private consultancy firm?” she asked in a Twitter post.

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