ASGS’s €672.5 Billion Program Turns Med Urgency into Opportunity

The Eu Commission has published this month a strategic guidance for the application of the Recovery and Resilience Facility program in its 2021 Annual Sustainable Growth Strategy (ASGS). The economic facility is meant for the economic policy challenges and should also enable Member States to strengthen their economic growth potential, job creation and economic and social resilience by providing €672.5 billion in financial support.

Last year, based on the European Green Deal, the Commission has set forth a new growth strategy and laid the principles meant to help Member States’ recovery and resilience plans and their national reforms and investments. The EU’s environmental sustainability, productivity, fairness, and macroeconomic stability dimensions continue to be at the core of the 2021 ASGS and ensure that the growth agenda helps the foundations for a green, digital, and sustainable recovery.

Additionally, the Recovery and Resilience Facility is adjusted to the COVID-19 crisis and is regarded as the primary mechanism to turn the pandemic challenge into an opportunity. According to President Ursula von der Leyen, “It is our key tool to turn the immediate challenges presented by the coronavirus pandemic into a long-term opportunity. Member States need clear guidance to ensure the Facility’s €672 billion is invested both for Europe’s immediate economic recovery, but also for long-term sustainable and inclusive growth.”

The Commission also presented recommendations to Member States on how to present their plans, what templates to be used and encourages the governments to include in their plans and reforms the following flagship projects:

  1. Power up – The frontloading of future-proof clean technologies and acceleration of the development and use of renewables.
  2. Renovate – The improvement of energy efficiency of public and private buildings.
  3. Recharge and Refuel – The promotion of future-proof clean technologies to accelerate the use of sustainable, accessible, and smart transport, charging and refueling stations and extension of public transport.
  4. Connect – The fast rollout of rapid broadband services to all regions and households, including fiber and 5G networks.
  5. Modernize – The digitalization of public administration and services, including judicial and healthcare systems.
  6. Scale-up – The increase in European industrial data cloud capacities and the development of the most powerful, cutting edge, and sustainable processors.
  7. Reskill and upskill – The adaptation of education systems to support digital skills and educational and vocational training for all ages.

To ensure a coherent and effective implementation of the Facility, the Commission’s Recovery and Resilience Task Force shall work in close cooperation with the Directorate-General for Economic and Financial Affairs, under the supervision of President Ursula von der Leyen. The deadline for submission of the Recovery and Resilience plans is 30 April 2021. However, Member States are encouraged to submit their preliminary draft plans from 15 October 2020.

If the Parliament and the Council will agree in a timely manner on the legislative proposal, it is expected that the Facility will become operational on 1st January 2021.

Contributed by: Calin Balescu, associate