Recovery fund: EU ministers approve four more national plans

Photo: EPA Slovenia's Finance Minister Andrej Sircelj, Brussels, 13 July 2021.

European Union finance ministers approved on Monday the national recovery plans of Croatia, Cyprus, Lithuania and Slovenia, paving the way for the disbursement of EU pre-financing for projects envisaged under the schemes, news wires reported. The European Council is expected to adopt its implementing decisions on the approval of these plans by written procedure shortly after the informal ministers’ meeting held on Monday. Following the formal adoption of the decisions, this second batch of member states will be able to use the facility’s funds to foster their economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

All four member states requested pre-financing from their allocated funds, which will be disbursed after the signing of bilateral grant and loan agreements.

“Good news for four more member states – Croatia, Cyprus, Lithuania and Slovenia. Following the approval of first 12 decisions on national plans earlier this month, we swiftly continued our work so that these member states could start receiving support for implementing their planned reforms and investments as soon as possible. We have to make the best possible use of these funds to recover from the crisis and pave the way to a resilient, greener and more digital Europe”, Andrej Sircelj, Slovenia’s Minister for Finance, said.

The Council decisions are preceded by the Commission’s assessment of the national recovery and resilience plans. The plans have to comply with the 2019 and 2020 country-specific recommendations and reflect the EU’s general objective of creating a greener, more digital and more competitive economy.

The reforms and investments that Croatia plans to implement to reach these goals include improving water and waste management, a shift to sustainable mobility and financing digital infrastructures in remote rural areas. Cyprus intends, among other things, to reform its electricity market and facilitate the deployment of renewable energy, as well as to enhance connectivity and e-government solutions.

An increase in locally produced renewables, the green public procurement measures and further developing the rollout of very high capacity networks are some of the measures that Lithuania has included in its recovery and resilience plan. Slovenia plans to use a part of the allocated EU support to invest in sustainable transport, unlock the potential of renewable energy sources and further digitalise its public sector.

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