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Italy asked to pay back EU funds spent on Elton John gig

By Abdul Nisar

London, Nov 20 (ANI): Italy has been asked to pay back 720,000 euros to The European Commission used by Naples authorities for an Elton John concert last year.

The concert was the part of the Piedigrotta festival in September 2009 and was funded in part using money from a 2.25 million euros grant to promote regional development.

Mario Borghezio, a member of the European parliament from the federalist Northern League party, brought the affair to light.

A European commission spokesman, Ton van Lierop, said that a letter had been sent to the Italian authorities "asking them to reimburse, so pay back, the 720,000 euros from EU funding from the European regional development fund used for this concert".

"Cultural events, culture in general, can fall under the scope of operational programmes, but they have to be aimed at structural long-term investments," the Guardian quoted him as saying.

The concert drew a crowd of 100,000 and was broadcast live on state TV.

Dario Scalabrini, the festival's artistic director, said the event was meant to promote the Naples area and did just that. (ANI)

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