The Netherlands and Austria are the first beneficiaries of REACT-EU

It will provide a top-up of €262m to Cohesion policy programmes

Photo: EU Wind turbines near the coast of the village of Kamperland, the Netherlands

The Netherlands and Austria became the first EU countries to make use of Recovery Assistance for Cohesion and the Territories of Europe, also known as REACT-EU. It is one of the largest programmes under Next Generation EU, and will provide a top-up of €47.5bn to Cohesion policy programmes over the course of 2021 and 2022.

The Commission approved on Tuesday the first decisions under REACT-EU that will increase the funding available for investments by nearly €262m for the two countries.

The additional resources involve a modification of four operational programmes for the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). These resources continue and extend the crisis response and repair measures delivered through the Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative packages, acting as a bridge to the long-term recovery plan.

The resources under REACT-EU are of crucial importance for the recovery of the economy Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms, Elisa Ferreira said. She called on Member States to complete their internal procedures for the approval of the Own Resources Decision so that the Commission can start borrowing.

Meanwhile, we are working fast forward to approve the programming decisions for this funding, the Commissioner specified encouraging all Member States to move as quickly as possible with their submissions.

In the Netherlands, the three amendments increase the EU co-financing rate and facilitate investments in the green and digital transition contributing to the resilience of the regional economy in North, East and South Netherlands.

The investments will contribute to the transitions related to a circular economy, renewable energy, digitalisation, climate, agriculture and food, sustainable use of materials. The programme will also support digitalisation in innovation projects, including in the health sector.

In Austria, the amendment of the ERDF Operational Programme for Growth and Jobs supports research and innovation capacities, provides investment support for enterprises in which innovative, green and digital projects will have a high share, and sustains increasing the energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy sources.

The EU executive is planning to adopt more REACT-EU operational programmes amendments in the coming weeks.

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