The European Union has ordered Italy to repay the almost $1 million in EU funds that the country used to pay singer Elton John to perform a concert, saying it was inappropriate to use the money for such a purpose.
In October 2009, John, 63, performed at the Piedigrotta festival in Naples. The concert was watched by some 100,000 people and was broadcast live on national television. He has not commented.
The EU allows the funds it allocates its member states to be used for long-term cultural projects, such as the restoration of old buildings. But an EU spokesperson told the Associated Press that a "one-off rock concert" does not qualify, adding: "So, we have asked Italy for our money back."
The festival's artistic director said the event, which cost $983,000 in EU money, was meant to promote the area.