Council adopts Recovery and Resilience Facility

To receive grants or loans from it, EU countries need to set out in their national plans a coherent package of reforms and investment projects

Photo: Portuguese Presidency of the Council João Leão.

The Council adopted on Thursday a regulation establishing the Recovery and Resilience Facility, which lies at the heart of the EU’s recovery plan. This happened a day after the European Parliament gave its consent to this important regulation. It will infuse €672.5bn in grants and loans in the EU 27 and help for upsurge of their economies hit hard by the pandemic.

EU countries will receive support from the facility on the basis of their national recovery and resilience plans, which are currently under preparation.

João Leão, Portugalʼs Minister for Finance commented that with the Recovery and Resilience Facility in place, it is time to focus all efforts on the preparation and submission of ambitious national recovery and resilience plans.

He emphasized that the new facility offers the EU Member States the unprecedented possibility of supporting recovery from the Covid-19 crisis and of undertaking green and digital transitions in an inclusive way. We need to make the best use of this opportunity, Minister Leão said.

Member States will need to set out in their national recovery and resilience plans a coherent package of reforms and investment projects, covering six policy areas of European relevance among them the green transition, digital transformation and education and skills.

Backing will be linked to country-specific recommendations under the European Semester, which identify central challenges for each EU country to address to strengthen competitiveness as well as social and economic cohesion. It will also contribute to the implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights.

At least 37% of each plan’s allocation has to support the green transition and at least 20% the digital transformation. All activities included in the plans should respect the ‘do no significant harm’ principle, protecting the EU’s environmental goals.

Member States will also need to ensure that adequate control systems are put in place to prevent, detect and correct corruption, fraud and conflicts of interest.

Until 30 April EU countries have to submit their recovery and resilience plans to the Commission. Then the EU executive will have up to two months to assess the plans and subsequently the Council will have four weeks to adopt its decision on the final approval of each plan.

For the plans approved in 2021, member states will be able to get pre-financing of up to 13% of the grants and loans provided for in their plan. The rest of the funds will be paid based on the achievement of the agreed milestones and targets.

For the money to start flowing, the EU’s own resources decision needs to be ratified in all Member States first, since the decision authorises the Commission to borrow on the capital markets.

The regulation will be signed on Friday and is expected to be published in the Official Journal on 18 February. It will enter into force the following day.

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