By Deirdre Tynan • 14 July 2021 • 8:22
Pedro Sanchez and Ursula von der Leyen.
Image: La Moncloa
EU economic and finance ministers have adopted the first batch of Council implementing decisions on the approval of national recovery and resilience plans with nine billion euros expected to arrive in Spain in just a few weeks.
Spain, along with Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg, Portugal, and Slovakia, got the green light for the use of EU recovery and resilience funds to boost their economies and recover from the Covid-19 fallout.
“In a few weeks, we will receive the first 9,000 million from European funds. A new stage full of opportunities begins. We are moving towards recovery by promoting the transformations that Spain needs,” tweeted Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez on July 13.
Ursula von der Leyen, the President of the European Commission, also tweeted, “Following approval of Spain’s recovery plan by the Council, funding for #NextGenerationEU can begin. € 69.5 billion will be invested in Spain in the coming years to achieve a greener, more digital country and better prepared for the future.”
The decisions at the ECOFIN Council on almost half of the national plans are a “big step” forward in the European economic recovery, the EU said in a statement.
“They allow the member states to sign the first financing agreements and the pre-financing payments to take place. With the EU support, the member states can start the reforms and investments needed for the recovery, strengthening and transforming of our economies. The adopted Council decisions will allow the member states to use the funds not only to recover from the COVID-19 crisis but also to create a resilient, greener and more digital, innovative and competitive Europe for the next EU generations,” the statement added.
“The EU financial assistance from the 672.5 billion euro Recovery and Resilience Facility aims to power the European economic recovery by supporting member states’ reforms and investment projects,” said Andrej Sircelj, Slovenia’s Minister for Finance. Slovenia currently holds the EU presidency.
“The measures approved in the national plans are centred around six policy areas, ‘pillars’, set out in the regulation establishing the Recovery and Resilience Facility. The areas include the green and digital transition, smart, sustainable and inclusive growth, and social and territorial cohesion,” he added.
Individual member states’ measures to achieve recovery and enhance the EU’s resilience include, for example, decarbonisation of industry, building renovation, digitalisation of public administration and reskilling of the labour force. The plans also address the country-specific recommendations identified in the course of the 2019 and 2020 European Semester discussions.
The Recovery and Resilience Facility is the central part of Next Generation EU, the recovery package to revitalise the EU economy after the COVID-19 pandemic while also addressing the main challenges such as the climate transition and digital transformation. To receive support from the facility, member states need to submit their recovery and resilience plans to the Commission, which then assesses them against the country specific recommendations and the facility’s six pillars.
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Deirdre Tynan is an award-winning journalist who enjoys bringing the best in news reporting to Spain’s largest English-language newspaper, Euro Weekly News. She has previously worked at The Mirror, Ireland on Sunday and for news agencies, media outlets and international organisations in America, Europe and Asia. A huge fan of British politics and newspapers, Deirdre is equally fascinated by the political scene in Madrid and Sevilla. She moved to Spain in 2018 and is based in Jaen.
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