The recovery plan for Europe aims to rebuild the European economy after the covid-19 pandemic and make it more sustainable, digital, and resilient in the face of future crises. For this, key objectives and six fundamental pillars for recovery have been established.
In terms of sustainability, the European Green Deal is the Union’s roadmap, which has set itself the goal of achieving climate neutrality by 2050, decoupling economic growth from the use of resources, promoting the circular economy, restoring biodiversity and reducing pollution.
In digitization, the Digital Europe program marks the way forward. With it, the EU wants to accelerate the digital transformation of the European economy and society by transferring its benefits to citizens and companies.
Objectives of the recovery plan for Europe
The funds channeled through the recovery plan for Europe will have three key objectives :
- Help countries in their recovery. The recovery and resilience plans presented by the countries that voluntarily request these grants will have to be adapted, among other issues, to the priorities defined by the EU, such as digitization and the green transition.
- Relaunching the economy and supporting private investment. National plans should grow the economy by supporting key sectors and technologies and mobilizing capital for the solvency of viable companies.
- Learn from the experience of the crisis. The recovery plan for Europe contemplates the strengthening of the health programs and reserve of essential supplies at the EU level (through rescue), in addition to promoting innovation and research in the health field.
The six pillars of recovery
To achieve these objectives, actions financed with funds from the European Recovery and Resilience Mechanism (MRR), the main instrument of NextGenerationEU, must revolve around six main pillars :
- Ecological transition to achieve climate neutrality in the European Union in 2050 through a strategy that achieves a sustainable economy.
- Digital transformation to generate an adequate framework for the use of digital technologies to benefit citizens and companies.
- Smart, sustainable and inclusive growth, incorporating elements such as economic cohesion, employment, productivity, competitiveness, research, innovation, a well-functioning internal market, and strong SMEs.
- Social and territorial cohesion of all the peoples and territories of Europe.
- Sanitary, economic, social, and institutional resilience, which will allow increasing the preparedness and the capacity to respond to future crises.
- Policies for the next generation. The need to pay special attention to policies related to children and young people and especially to education and training is established.
Thus, to receive support from the Recovery and Resilience Mechanism, EU countries must establish a coherent package of projects, reforms, and investments linked to these six areas of action. Each Member State must design a National Recovery and Resilience Plan that includes the reforms and investment projects necessary to achieve these objectives, having as inspiring principles the four aspects indicated in the Annual Sustainable Growth Strategy of the European Commission: environmental sustainability, productivity, equity, and macroeconomic stability.
The Commission has encouraged the Member States to submit investment and reform plans in the following areas:
- Clean and renewable technologies.
- Energetic efficiency of the buildings.
- Sustainable transport and charging stations.
- Deployment of broadband services.
- Administration digitization.
- Increased cloud capabilities.
- Education and training to support digital skills.
In addition, National Recovery and Resilience Plans must include detailed strategies to address the specific challenges of each Member State and must meet the following conditions :
- They should dedicate at least 37% of total spending to investments and reforms that support climate action goals.
- They must dedicate a minimum of 20% of spending to support the digital transition.
- All investments and renovations must respect the principle of not causing significant damage to the environment.
- They should propose firm measures to protect the financial interests of the Union, especially to prevent fraud, corruption, and conflicts of interest.
Spain has presented its national plan on April 30, within the limit established for this, and it is expected that they will be evaluated and approved by the European Commission in June 2021. In the European Regulation on the Recovery and Resilience Mechanism, approved last February, the objectives of this financial instrument and the conditions for its execution are detailed.