Recovery plan powers EU's strategic autonomy

BEF debates on the unprecedented socioeconomic challenges

Photo: EU Valdis Dombrovskis (L) and Maria Tadeo (R), moderator.

The topic on rebooting the EU economy after coronavirus brought together at the online annual Brussels Economic Forum (BEF), high-level policymakers, opinion leaders, academics, civil society and business leaders from EU and beyond. 

They held a vibrant debate on the unprecedented economic and social challenges that Europe is facing emphasing the role for the state in the economy and the push for social and green restart after the pandemic.

In her opening address, Nadia Calvino, Spanish Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economic Affairs and Digital Transformation highlighted the European response that was put in place in record time to ensure financial stability, protect a solid basis for the recovery and to avoid a more structural and long-standing damage.

EC Executive Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis whose assignment as the new trade commissioner came during the forum, said that the crisis is affecting companies and workers very differently. We are looking at how to best support them and reduce economic, social and territorial inequalities as much as possible, he pointed out noting that Europe’s economic recovery should be fair, even and inclusive. He underlined that the key to the future prosperity is making Europe’s economy greener and more digital. “Public money won’t get us there and that is why we will present a Green finance action plan in the coming months, to get the private sector to invest in these transitions.”

Describing the objective of the EU’s recovery package as “a ship that keeps us afloat in rough seas and gets us through the storm”, EVP Dombrovskis also recalled that EU countries that want to use recovery funding should draw up reform and investment plans that aim to raise productivity growth and focus on projects in line with common European priorities.

Recovery plan is even bigger than the Marshall plan and we need to coordinate all the national recovery plans and to facilitate investments in order to succeed, stated Paolo Gentiloni, EU Commissioner for Economy. He focused on the fact that the temporary framework for state aid and the general escape clause are not forever. It's crucial to avoid tightening rules too soon and we need to give our economies the necessary time and that means we need in 2021 to keep an expansionary fiscal stance, the Commissioner explained.

European Council President Charles Michel in his speech zoomed in on the last EU summit where the leaders reached a deal on the next common budget and recovery plan.

“It wasn't easy, but it was a success. This agreement was a major step to our vital objective: European strategic autonomy. The strategic independence of Europe is our new common project for this century”, the EUCO President explained.

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