The European Parliament has given the green light to the set of rules and procedures of the key pillar that supports the shock plan against the economic impact of the pandemic articulated by the European Union; the recovery fund of 750,000 million euros. The objectives, financing and rules of access to the so-called Recovery and Resilience Fund Mechanism, designed to help countries, with an allocation of 672,500 million euros between grants and loans, already has rules and regulated procedures. The ‘ok’ of the European Parliament was essential. It is the starting gun for the formal presentation of national recovery projects (no longer drafts). Although the weight of the process, the key so that the money begins to flow from the second half of the year, is still pending ratification in the parliaments of the Member States, something that so far has only happened in four of them.
The regulation has obtained the support of 582 votes in the European Chamber, compared to 40 against and 69 abstentions. It contemplates that projects started as of February 1, 2020 will be able to receive funds from the Recovery and Resilience Mechanism, through help lines that will be available to Governments for three years and that will be able to cover up to 13% of pre-financing of their respective anticovid plans.
In order to receive this money, these plans have to be oriented towards the key objectives of the European agenda such as ecological transition, including biodiversity, digital transformation, economic cohesion and competitiveness, and social and territorial cohesion. Plans that address “the responsiveness of institutions and ways to better prepare them for crises, as well as policies for children and young people, including education and capacity building, will also get money.”
One of the main conditions is that each national project allocates at least 37% of its budget to climate and 20% to digital actions. “They should have a lasting impact both in social and economic terms and include comprehensive reforms as well as a solid investment package” and in no case “significantly” prejudice environmental objectives.
The Regulation also stipulates that only Member States committed to respecting the rule of law and the fundamental values of the EU will be able to receive funds, a historical requirement that at the end of last year led to an attempted blockade by Hungary and Poland.
«The Mechanism is the correct response to the impact of the virus. It has two objectives: in the short term, recovery; In the long term, driving change and progress towards our digital and climate goals. We will ensure that the measures alleviate poverty and unemployment, also taking into account the gender dimension of the crisis. The aid will also serve to strengthen the health systems, “defended one of the speakers, the socialist Eider Gardiazabal.
The European Commission is responsible for guiding but also monitoring compliance with all the requirements in each of the state recovery plans. Parliament may also ask to be kept informed every two months to discuss “the state of recovery in the EU and the way in which the Member States are implementing the goals and objectives”. The Commission will also make an integrated reporting and monitoring system available to Member States to provide comparable information on how funds are being used.