Supply chain contracts: an avalanche of appeals against the Pnrr ranking is expected

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An avalanche of appeals on the ranking of projects admitted to funding is expected Pnrr for supply chain contracts in the agricultural world. With 2.65 billion in funds available, out of 309 applications submitted, more or less 150 will be able to be financed. Half of the projects will therefore be left out. And this explains the interest in reopening the lists. The objective, above all, is a rewrite of the criteria with which the scores were assigned, which according to many were the result of a subjective evaluation.

The first appeals to the TAR

A first tranche of appeals started immediately after the provisional ranking of the projects admitted to funding, which was published on 30 June. At that date, the two extra billion announced by the Minister of Agriculture Francesco Lollobrigida at the end of November had not yet arrived in the available funds, so there were 38 projects that could be financed by the Pnrr. The list of those who have appealed to the TAR is public and is found on the website of the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Sovereignty. Among these, there are the Grana Padano Protection Consortium, the Prosecco Doc Consortium and the Italian Wine Consortium, and the Lazio Regional Administrative Court will have to rule on their requests by the end of May.

The very history of the ranking of projects admitted to Pnrr funds for supply chain contracts is, in itself, rather complex. After being published in a provisional version at the end of June, it was withdrawn soon after, only to reappear in mid-November, but unofficially. Among other things, an internal investigation appears to be underway into how she left the Ministry of Agriculture. The new ranking is now being examined by the Court of Auditors but in any case little seems to have changed between the two versions, that of June and that of November.

The substantive dispute

Many operators requested access to the documents as early as last July. And now, the first tranche of appeals risks being followed by a second. What is being contested? In the first place, the evaluation criteria on the basis of which the ranking scores were granted. In some cases, calculation errors have even been reported. On their side, agricultural companies have the list of FAQs, i.e. the clarifications provided by the Ministry of Agriculture itself regarding doubts about the requirements set out in the announcement. The FAQs are public documents and are published on the ministry’s website, often signed by the general directors of Via XX Settembre themselves. Except that in some cases the answers to the questions seem to say one thing, while the scores assigned by the ranking would reflect an opposite interpretation.

The fifth call for supply chain contracts was published in April 2022 and admits to the benefits projects whose total amount of eligible investments is between 4 and 50 million euros. The beneficiaries are both the companies that produce and harvest, and those that transform and market. To obtain the benefit, however, it is necessary to have signed a multi-regional and inter-professional supply chain agreement.

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